Category Archives: Sexual Health

Masturbation is Healthy!

Do you have a favorite Surgeon General? I do. She was probably the one with the shortest term, too. Joycelyn Elders.

From Wikipedia

She was Surgeon General under President Clinton and was only in office for a short year and three months. She caused quite a stir from the beginning of her term, advocating for things like looking into the benefits of drug legalization and distribution of contraceptives in schools.

Her most controversial stand, though, was on promoting masturbation. She felt that it should be taught in schools and could help prevent people from other riskier sexual activity. She made this public stand at a conference on AIDS hosted by the UN in 1994 and was let go afterwards.

She’s right though! Masturbation is a super important part of human sexuality. It helps us learn about our bodies, what we like and don’t like, what kind of fantasies we are interested in, and helps prepare you for better sex when you are older. Also, can you imagine what it would be like to be open about masturbation during sexual education instead of just being terrified of the topic? We could let kids know that it is normal, healthy, and that (most) everyone does it.

I also agree with Ms. Elders on the prevention aspect of masturbation. Imagine kids that tried mutual masturbation instead of, say, oral sex? Or, if kids felt more comfortable with masturbation, they may get a better hold on all those raging hormones.

It’s not just important for youth, though. Masturbation is also important for adults. I wish the topic didn’t make so many people squeamish (including me, sometimes!) but it’s something we should be open about to our partners. Partners should understand that to have separate sexual lives that include masturbation is healthy and normal. And, masturbating in front of each other can open your eyes to new things about your partner’s body that you weren’t aware of.

Holding the opposite view on masturbation, though, is John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, the same Kellogg as the guy who invented Corn Flakes. Kellogg was vehemently against any kind of sexual activity that was not intended for making babies, even in marriage. He called it unnatural and even performed circumcision on boys without anesthesia to discourage them from masturbating. To girls, he applied carbolic acid on their clitorises. Oy. Wait, what’s normal? Putting acid on someone or allowing them to follow their urges?

Anyways, back to the cereal. Kellogg invented Corn Flakes as a part of what he felt was a healthy regimen that would discourage masturbation. Because masturbation is unnatural.

So, world, fight past the awkwardness that is talking about masturbation. It’s normal. It’s good for you. It’s healthy.


An Extension of Self

If you’re a die hard Dan Savage fan like me, you heard the latest Savage Lovecast episode (episode 191, 19:00) in which a lesbian caller described an experience she had with a strap on toy during sex. She said she felt the sudden urge to have her partner go down on the strap on, that it was super hot, but then afterwards she got a little eeked out. Am I normal? Does this mean I’m trans? she asked Dan.

She definitely asked the right person. Dan’s usually pretty great at what he does. The first follow up question he had for her was whether she and her partner enjoyed it. If so, then totally. The trans thing, he left for her to figure out. What mattered, he said, was for sex to be consensual, fun and healthy.

The other day, though, a reader of Slog (the blog for the Seattle newspaper, The Stranger,  that Dan is a part of), added an interesting bit to the fire. The call made her think of an article on how humans often experience tools as an extension of their body.

It makes her sudden instincts for oral sex make a lot of sense. At that moment, the dildo was a part of her. This could happen with any toy in bed, really, and you have probably experienced this yourself if you’ve used toys in bed. To an outsider, this could look totally silly. I mean, she’s not actually physicially feeling what’s happening to the silicone, but she is in her mind.While the sensation is probably not the same as penis-in-vagina sex, a mental orgasm is totally possible.

And it’s hot.

A sex toy made for queer women, by queer women

Sitting in a bar, about a week ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had seen the “finger extenders” that just showed up on Blowfish.

Holy crap. They exist.

There’s a few things that are really interesting about this toy. First being the different design. I always admire it when people try out new kinds of designs and ideas and generally widen our ideas of how sex can happen. For example: Rock Chick, The Cone, Feeldoe. This kind of toy has never really existed.

What’s also interesting is the company that makes this, Wet For Her. They’re a french company that is run by “women who love women”. I’ve never seen this before in a toy company. It’s really refreshing. Women have a larger presence now in the world of sex toy stores with women owned and operated stores like Babeland, Good Vibes, and Smitten Kitten. However, the process of making  toys  is still a man’s world, even those toys without the harmful chemicals and cheesy packaging.

Wet For Her also has a few other products in the works. They also sell an egg vibrator, but are also creating something like the picture you see above, but also includes your thumb. You can see pictures on their website. Also on their website are links to reviews (you can see what Autostraddle thinks about it all – they were at the release party) including a video review.

What we need is more of this, more queer people being involved in the creation of products made with us in mind. While straight people can also use this product, it’s nice to have some special attention and acknowledgement of queer sex (and not just a straight man’s idea of what queer sex is/should be.)