Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's Wrong With the Way
We Think About Chlamydia


The New York Times reported this week on a study in Pediatrics that found racial disparities in the likelihood that a woman received chlamydia testing. The authors reviewed medical charts and while all of the more than 23,000 women included met the CDC's criteria for routine chlamydia testing (i.e., under 25 and sexually active), black and hispanic women were significantly more likely to have been tested for chlamydia than white women.

Even more likely to have received testing were those who had public insurance (i.e., Medicaid) and those who were eligible for--but not enrolled in--public insurance programs. Basically, women who are poor. What this shows is that healthcare providers are less likely to screen women who are white and/or have private insurance.

The article's authors suggest the following:
...clinicians may simply be less likely to consider white women in association with a stigmatized STI such as chlamydia. An inference regarding this “reverse health care disparity” is that white women, who typically are more likely to receive routine health screening tests such as mammography, are not considered for chlamydia screening because of the stigma of STIs. (p. e341)
But here's what's wrong with this picture: the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria is transmitted by infected fluids, meaning that in order to contract it, a person's mucosal tissue (vagina, rectum, urethra, eye, or mouth/throat) has to come into contact with (read: receive) infected semen or vaginal secretions. If a woman is tested, diagnosed with chlamydia, and receives treatment, her infection goes away--but the person who infected her, unless he's also received treatment, still has chlamydia.

In 2008, the CDC reported 1,210,523 Chlamydia infections, the majority of which were in women. We can fairly assume that the overwhelming majority of these cases were the result of sex with men who may not have not been tested or treated. To wit, the CDC says: "The lower rates among men also suggest that many of the sex partners of women with chlamydia are not being diagnosed or reported as having chlamydia." This is one explanation for the frequency of reinfection. In contrast to the often self-resolving HPV, chlamydia doesn't go away unless a person receives antibiotic treatment so the majority of the men who infected these women are still walking around none the wiser.

While far fewer men than women with untreated chlamydia will become infertile as a result of their infection, if the majority of men with chlamydia are not getting tested we should anticipate male infertility will become more common and that the disease burden related to chlamydia--in both men and women--will not decrease if we only increase testing among women. So if our plan as sexual health professionals is to routinely screen all sexually active women under the age of 25, but we're not aggressively targeting men for screening, we are literally missing 50% of the chlamydia picture.


Article citation:
Sarah E. Wiehe, MD, MPH, Marc B. Rosenman, MD, MS, Jane Wang, PhD, Barry P. Katz, PhD, and J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS. "Chlamydia Screening Among Young Women: Individual- and Provider-Level Differences in Testing."
Pediatrics. Online early release 1/27/11. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/cgi/reprint/peds.2010-0967v1 (accessed 1/30/11)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Round Rock Man Gets 2xLife for Child Porn; Priest Sex Abuse Hit Man Case Settled (for now)

via the Statesman.
A Round Rock man pleaded guilty to two counts of promotion of child pornography and was sentenced to two life sentences, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said in a statement.
Judge Ken Anderson ordered that the sentences for Kevin Charles Baley, 35, run consecutively.
According to the statement:
“In April 2010, a New Hampshire undercover investigator contacted Round Rock Police Department and reported that Baley, a Round Rock resident, had been corresponding online with the investigator, who had been pretending to be a 13-year old boy. The investigator explained that he met Baley on a website frequented by pedophiles. He also reported that Baley had sent sexually explicit messages and e-mailed pornographic photos. Based on this and additional information, Round Rock officers obtained a search warrant for Baley’s house and seized several computers, digital storage devices and printed materials. A subsequent forensic examination revealed over 1,500 photographs and 50 video clips of graphic child pornography. Police also found printed child pornography materials in Baley’s bedroom.
During an interview with Round Rock police, Baley confessed to communicating with what he thought was a young boy. He admitted was a pedophile and preferred contact with prepubescent children. He explained, “I know it’s a messed up way of thinking, but looking at the pictures keeps me from reoffending or finding another victim.” Baley had previously been convicted of indecency with a child in Williamson County, serving 10 years in prison for molesting a 10-year old girl in 1994.”

Also from the Statesman:
A lawsuit against a Roman Catholic priest — who is set to appear in court this week on criminal charges of soliciting a hit man to kill his teenage accuser — has been settled for nearly $1 million.
John Fiala was a priest in the West Texas community of Rocksprings in 2007 when, the lawsuit says, he began molesting a then-16-year-old boy.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio announced last week that it had settled a lawsuit brought by the youth for $946,000.
In November, the 52-year-old Fiala was arrested near Dallas on charges of trying to hire someone to kill the youth.
He is charged with one count of solicitation of capital murder and is being held on $700,000 bail.
Fiala is scheduled to appear in a Dallas County court Thursday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dallas Mom Forced to Explain Billboard, Masturbation with Vegetables, to Children

Heads up to S for the tip! On I-35 north to Dallas this billboard, from Metroplex-area sex shops Sara's Secret and Condoms To Go, has put "parents in a pickle" over how to explain to their kids what in the sam hell this ad is trying to convey.

The ad's contention that "thousands of cucumbers are assaulted every day" is, perhaps, true, but the use of vegetables and other household objects for masturbation is sometimes a necessity for those who can't purchase actual vibrators for lack of funds or, you know, age of majority.

Fortunately, Sara's Secret and Condoms To Go have thirteen locations in DeSoto, Kaufman, Corsicana, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Lewisville, Carollton and Dallas for all of your non-edible sex toy needs!

NBC DFW quotes Rebecca Blake, an Angry Christian Mom, as saying: "We saw a big billboard with a cucumber on it and a face and it said 'Stop vegetable abuse.' My daughter Sara said, 'What's that? Stop vegetable abuse?'" Blake doesn't say how, or if, she explained to her daughter what someone might do to a cucumber that could count as abuse, particularly considering "the Christian values she teaches her children," and NBC DFW's article is similarly coy.

Surely any parent could come up with the lie that parents tell their kids every day: "I don't know, honey." But if one were to watch the video version of the commercial from Sara's Secret, below, the mystery is mostly gone. You're welcome.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Tristan Taormino's
Expert Guide to Female Orgasms


Tristan Taormino, a hero of women sex writers everywhere, has been in the news a lot this week. Invited to speak at a conference on "Modern Sex" at Oregon State University, the grown-ups in charge at OSU canceled her keynote appearance at the last minute when they figured out a little too late that Tristan, in addition to being an amazing writer of such must-reads as The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Opening Up, also makes great porn videos.

I've been reviewing Tristan's work since the original Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women (I would totally lend it to you but I broke the DVD!) and many women who dislike traditional porn may appreciate Tristan's humanizing approach to erotica.

Every video features interviews with her carefully chosen cast members who describe what they want to perform. This is different from almost all other porn I've seen--Tristan gives the stars the reins, and doesn't push them to perform scenes they don't want to do.

Her latest film, part of her Vivid Ed series, boasts a phenomenal roster of stars: the smoking hot Jiz Lee, from the Crash Pad series; Mr. Marcus, a favorite of mine who has appeared in several Tristan films, including the Chemistry series; and Dylan Ryan, also a Crash Pad veteran.

Tristan's educational approach is to intersperse her teaching with action illustrating her points. This might be kind of tiresome for someone who doesn't really feel like they need to learn about the female orgasm, but after 30 minutes the film transitions to full length scenes.

As always, studying Mr. Marcus and his tongue should be required for anyone who wants to learn about great oral sex. His style is worlds away from the "flicking" and "divebombing" common in most porn, which maximizes camera visibility and but does little for female pleasure. His scene with Dylan is hot yet tender, and he has the uncommon ability among men in porn to seem like someone you might actually want to have sex with.

Jiz and Madison Young have a great scene together with Madison's well-loved Hitachi Magic Wand, and Tristan-favorite Adrianna Nicole demonstrates the utility of a stainless steel butt plug. Lots of the scenes incorporate toys, most impressively Dylan's use of the HUGE Njoy Eleven. I saw this thing in person at Good Vibes in San Francisco and seriously, it's giant.

None of the performers ever express disappointment at using a toy, a lesson that would be well-learned by lots of guys who feel intimidated by their partner's interest in using a vibrator during sex. I think it was Mr. Marcus who said, in Chemistry, that sex toys aren't "competitors, they're teammates."

Tristan's real talent is showing how hot sex can be without the boner-killing aggression and misogyny present in so much porn. It is possible to show slapping, spitting, and running the fuck and still be appealing to female viewers and therein lies Tristan's gift. Because of its focus on female pleasure and orgasm, this DVD would be great for couples looking for porn to watch together. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From blenders to bakeries, Bedpost Confessions pulls the covers off Austin’s sexy underground.

cross-posted from Republic of Austin.

"Have you ever cum so hard and for so long that you couldn’t breathe, and you were sure you were going to pass out?" Cheering replies and hell yeahs resounded throughout the room. The January edition of Bed Post Confessions had just begun.

Last summer four women, Sadie Smythe, Rosie Q, Mia Martina and Julie Gillis, decided to organize Bedpost Confessions, an erotic reading and performance series showcasing a diversity of sexual perspectives--the bulk of which would make most anybody blush.

-
image via Kitchenaid-mixers.com

For example, one woman read a piece about the erotic intensity she experienced from the KitchenAid mixer she received as a wedding gift. And then there was the story about a husband and wife whose erotic encounter was interrupted by an unexpected shift at the husband's bakery. The scene climaxed with hot, panting telephone conversations paused by passing coworkers and, "Hold on, I need to check the baguettes."

The first show, held in September at the smaller bar inside the United States Art Authority, was standing-room only. And since moving to the larger main space in October, each show has been increasingly more packed. There isn't any other space in Austin where people can gather and talk about sex in this type of setting--good lighting, no nudity, intimate seating, and a friendly, enthusiastic and supportive audience.

Small index cards at each table invite those in attendance to share experiences anonymously. The "confessions," read by the hosts in between acts, range from the endearingly innocent to "OMG, really?" Among my favorites: "My friends and family don’t know this: I met my darling (incredibly considerate boyfriend) on CRAIGSLIST – the 'casual encounters' section. 4 years strong! Ya!!" and, "So, you know that train bridge that goes over Town Lake? Turns out that if you crawl down through the tracks to one of the big concrete pillars, if you can somehow manage to time it with the train going overhead… well, it’s pretty fucking awesome!"

The audience at Bedpost boasts great age and physical diversity, something which our culture often ignores. It celebrates the idea that being sexual is not actually confined to those who are young and hot, despite the almost exclusive media focus on people who fit into body norms. Looking around the audience, you might spot a couple in their sixties exchanging wry glances during a reading about fisting, or a man in an open marriage stand at the back of the room with his girlfriend while his wife reads onstage.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite performers, Big Poppa E, a well known slam poet who performed a number of pieces but this one, about what he would tell his (hypothetical) son about sex:



EXPERIENCE: You can catch the next show, a special event at the new lesbian bar Lipstick 24, on February 3rd. Or see the full Bedpost at the USAA on February 10th.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Racist Anti-Abortion Insert in Daily Texan


Yes, you can!

Another semester, another 12 page, full color insert in the Daily Texan from the Human Life Alliance, the same organization that published almost the exact same supplement last spring semester with a pretty white girl on the cover.

This time, presumably in coordination with all the other anti-abortion groups in America, they're focusing on black and brown people, and how Planned Parenthood is trying to kill them all by setting up clinics in their neighborhoods. Or something. One of the advisors to the Human Life Alliance is Dr. Alveda King, a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a vehement anti-abortion activist.

The content on the inside is the same as last year, with the usual: hooking up is bad for girls (but dudebros, don't you worry about it), abortion causes breast cancer, abortion is reproductive racism, birth control doesn't work and is probably really abortion, abortion makes rape worse, and so on.

But the real focus is a vague concept of "injustice." The center article's headline is "Social justice begins in the womb." No mention, of course, of the injustices faced by women who have unplanned pregnancies and carry to term--disappearing social services, housing discrimination, lack of affordable childcare so they can work, etc etc. But the important thing, ladies, is that social justice begins in the womb--and ends as soon as you come out of it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today Is Awesome:
FailBlog Introduces Dirty Site!

If you're like me, you wish there were a place online to aggregate all of those hilarious porno outtakes and terrible novelty vibrators. Now there is! Below are just a few of the great examples of funny coming from Failblog After Dark. Beware, craigslist casual encounters posters: there is now a site for you to be systematically mocked. They will post cock shots.

Good reminder not to divulge that you've been cheating via text message, ever:

epic fail photos - This is why you should always let her finish
see more Failblog After Dark

Engrish vibrators!

epic fail photos - No cob holders necessary
see more Failblog After Dark

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maura Kelly: "Like Anorexia, but for Sex"


Believe me. Not as sexy as it sounds.

Remember Maura Kelly, the formerly anorexic Marie Claire blogger who wrote a total piece of shit article about how fat people shouldn't make out in public or on television? Well she's back, this time in the Guardian (UK), claiming that there's another thing women should deny themselves for their own good: sex.*

The inspiration for her article is a book by my friend Mark Regnerus, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying . One of Regnerus's central arguments is that, in college, the "price" of female sex has declined due to a variety of factors, which makes women who would prefer to "charge" the "price" of a relationship in exchange for sex less able to do so, because men in college can get sex for "cheaper" very easily through the so-called hookup culture. Unlike Kelly, I've actually read the book--there are copies both on my bedside table at home and on my desk at work. Mark and I had hours of conversation over coffee about the subject matter and you'll find my name close to the top of the acknowledgements--but not because I agree with him that casual sex is bad.

Here's how Kelly starts out:

I often feel like an amateur sociologist myself, conducting interviews about the amorous exploits of friends and acquaintances – and occasionally sacrificing my own body for the social sciences. My data leads me to conclude that casual sex leaves plenty of women feeling awkward or dissatisfied – if not downright miserable – whereas most men don't experience a similar psychological hangover.
Emphasis on amateur. I've written about Mark's work and about the sexual marketplace theory and how it affects women before, and I agree with its premise that sex is a female resource that men "buy." But the thing that people like Kelly don't realize is that part of the reason women research subjects report "regretting" casual sex is because they are punished for it. The "value" of sex has declined and so the "price" women can demand has lowered, too. But does that mean women don't want casual sex? Not necessarily. I think it means that women are shamed for having sex (whether casual or not) in our sexist system, and they don't like it. If you ate pizza with clams and threw up afterwards because you're allergic to shellfish, you might "regret" eating the pizza, but that doesn't mean eating pizza is bad.

She goes on:

I'm glad that women can now, mostly, do as they please sexually, without (too much) cultural opprobrium; we should have the option of acting like men. But casual sex has come to seem more of a necessity or an expectation. Young women – and older ones, too – feel significant pressure, from their peers and a culture in which girls who go wild are minor celebrities and Samantha Jones is cast as a role model, to have rollicking sex lives.
Kelly says that "legit" research backs up her claims that "deferred gratification makes sexual politics sense" but she would do well to read Sex at Dawn, which challenges much of the "standard narrative" this "legit" research is based on in the first place. And I question the claim that women engage in casual sex because of a "culture" that occasionally postively portrays women who like to have sex, because there are actually far more portrayals of women suffering the consequences of sex [see: Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, the Pregnancy Pact, and virtually all other media].

An overwhelming majority of sex research, including Mark's book and every other study Kelly cites, uses college students as its subjects. For a book like Regnerus's, which is actually about college student sexual behavior, using student subjects makes sense. But research that uses college students as subjects and attempts to generalize to men and women overall [see: Buss, David; everything ever written] is inherently flawed, because as anyone who's woken up without shoes in a strange sweatshirt after a frat party can attest, sex in college is different than sex after college.

If sex researchers were able to pull together samples of, say, late twentysomethings and ask them about their desires for and experiences with dating, hooking up and casual sex, they would likely get very different answers because having sex when you're older is different. But it's very difficult to sample people who aren't in college, because they aren't sitting in your classes, eager for the extra point or two on their final exam you're offering them for taking your survey or submitting to your interview.

Allow me to indulge in a metaphor. When I was in college, I worked at a coffee shop that had a pizza oven in the back. As employees, we were allowed to make ourselves pizzas anytime we wanted, whether we were working or not. As a semi-broke college student, I took advantage of this benefit with extreme frequency, even sometimes when I might really have preferred to eat something else. Because of this free access to unlimited pizza of my own design, I have experimented with a wide variety of pizza types, of a great diversity of sizes, crust thicknesses, and topping combinations.

Having had such depth of experience with pizza in college, I am very clear about what I am and am not interested in eating. If offered a pizza that I don't want with, say, clams, I will turn it down rather than eat it, because I really fucking hate clams. But I don't regret the pizza with clams that I have tried, and it certainly doesn't cheapen the experiences I have with the pizzas I really prefer. Now, as an adult with all that "promiscuous" pizza under my belt, I am willing to hold out for the pizza I really want. But if I hadn't tried all the different kinds I wouldn't know to avoid the ones I don't like, and I could be married to a clam pizza right now.

It's a metaphor. But it really happened.

The reality is that women are not publicly shamed for eating lots of different pizzas [Coming soon to TLC: My Strange Addiction: Lots of Pizza!], but the feeling of "Given the opportunity to eat that pizza/fuck that person again, I think I'd decline" is the same. And trying things, deciding we don't like them, and choosing not to do them again is okay. It's called growing up.



*As an aside, she posted on the Marie Claire blog last week about how playing hard to get is "never a good idea." In one ear out the other, I guess.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Midland Superintendent Shocked --Just Shocked!-- by Teen Pregnancy Rate in Public Schools


Oh yeah, drill me baby, drill me! via mywesttexas.com.

Apparently fair little Midland, the "tall city" in the middle of nowhere from which George W. Bush (sort of) hails, has found itself between a rock and a big, throbbing, hard place. Just 4 months after a weekend swinger's convention was cancelled, fully 120 girls in the district, including one as young as twelve (!), are in the family way so far this school year. And more shocking, of those who were in "pregnancy services" in 2009, 90% tested positive for an STI. Which kind of makes sense since Midland has higher rates of Chlamydia and teen birth than the state of Texas overall.

Considering that Texas is widely known as a contender in the teen pregnancy national championship every year, this is bad news for Midland. While 120 pales in comparison to Austin ISD's 375 pregnant girls in 2009-2010, Midland only has 21,374 students enrolled in its school district as compared to Austin's 84,676. But in 2009 Midland was rated "academically unacceptable" by the Texas Education Agency, so something bad is going down up in oil town.

The Superintendent, Ryder Warren, promises action, and is working with a local crisis prengnacy trap, The Life Center, to "educate students on abstinence and safe sex as a stop-gap measure." Wait...a "stop-gap" measure? What have they been doing all along? Oh, this: "Health advisory council member Mike Mills said research conducted by the council revealed only two days were devoted to sex education." It sounds like Midland may join the other two lonely Texas districts who plan to dump abstinence education for OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING.

Just in case you're wondering, here's what the Life Center's website says it offers for its MPACT Character-based Sexual Integrity Program for grade 6, the goal of which is "to equip sixth graders to abstain from premarital sex and other risk-taking behaviors through education":

Defining sexual integrity [abstain or you're a slut, confusingly demonstrated by a piece of tape]
Consequences of Sex before marriage vs. Benefits of Boundaries [hmm, wonder how this "compare and contrast" turns out]
Basic Sexual Anatomy (gender specific) [penises and vaginas, folks]
Self Worth and Personal Character Values [if you have sex you don't have these]
Choosing friends based on your values [sluts make bad friends so it's ok to be mean to them]
The Media Message: Fantasy vs. Reality [OMG PORN IS ADDICTIVE SRSLY]
Healthy Affection vs. Inappropriate Behavior [if he wants to have sex with you there's no way he loves you]
Making a Commitment [straight people only, please]
Goal setting [rinse and repeat: don't have sex]

Warren said the district is evaluating a curriculum recommended by both the district Student Health Advisory Committee and the Life Center, but no word on which one it is. Maybe Big Decisions? Whatever program they choose, it won't go into effect before next fall. But Midland's motto is "The Sky's the Limit," so I'm confident with a lot of long, hot, hard work they can get up to Austin numbers before prom.

But then again, it could be like this.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Greg Abbott Gets Appellate Court Smackdown Over Lesbian Divorce


image via Cafe Press

Color me shocked! The Statesman reports that Austin 3rd Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the divorce granted to two women married in Massachusetts was legal and, further, Abbott had had no standing to intervene to stop the divorce on the grounds that the women's marriage wasn't legal in Texas.

It looks like Abbott's aggressive pursuit of conservative causes through the legal system was challenged by the decision:
The opinion, written by Justice Diane Henson, noted that only under certain limited circumstances can the state appeal in a lawsuit where it was not a party.
Hear that, Abbott? This divorce was a party and you weren't invited. Dang.

The Attorney General can appeal, of course, but that wouldn't leave Greg much time to fight the raging triple scourge of teen sexting, Craigslist prostitution, and comprehensive sex education. And Spring Break is coming up!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Year in Sex:
Resolutions for 2011


If you need to cry...go ahead, baby. And then STFU.

Things are looking down economically in Texas, and with a $25 billion budget shortfall we are on the fast track to getting totally fucked in all the wrong ways. So why not focus on growing and protecting what you can control this year: your sex life. Think of it as your, um, private nest egg. You can make some deposits to your, er, account that will grow in utility and provide payoffs even if you wind up living under an overpass in Austin.

So, honey...wanna try...anal?

I have some friends, who shall remain anonymous because How to Have Sex in Texas never names its sources (or subjects, wink wink), who made a New Years Resolution last year to have anal sex by New Years Eve 2010. I don't know yet if they did it, but I tried to coach them as best I could and even sent them some specially chosen preparative toys as an engagement present.

If you've always wanted to try something but have been too scared or too shy to tell your partner, make this year the year you're going to get your needs met. Want to try anal? Read this article on the 10 Steps to a Successful Anal Encounter. And proceed.

Get Over That Breakup Already

If you're nursing a broken heart, cry your tears, write your poetry, and get the hell over it. Read He's Just Not That Into You and then read It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken. Watch the "Cry Baby" video above as many times as it takes and let.it.go. Some of the best advice I've ever received was from a friend who said, after a breakup, that a person has every right not to want to date you. But one thing is for certain: your friends are sick of hearing about it.

This is also a great time to cut the cord of that relationship that just won't die. If you read the books above and say to yourself, "Hmm, the asshole behavior they're describing seems a lot like the way I act and feel," get out now. One minute is too long to stay in a relationship that you know isn't working. DTMFA.

Replace that College Vibrator

If you're still using the vibrator that you bought at that sketchy 24 hour video store in college, please put the toxic toy down right now and get a new friend. I got to visit Good Vibrations while I was in San Francisco and see in person some of the incredible new vibrators that have come out. My personal wish list includes the Soraya by Lelo which, if you like a rabbit-style toy, is what you need. Gorgeous, waterproof, rechargeable, quiet, and no stupid animal faces that make it hard to clean. Whatever style toy you like, if you have a jelly toy that contains phthalates, replace it immediately. That shit is toxic and it smells terrible.

Protect Your Health...While You Still Have Insurance

The most important sex resolutions for 2011 concern preventative health. If you've never been tested for STIs, do it now. Especially if you're female. The firestorm in the feminist blogosphere about whether birth control pills cause infertility [they don't] aside, the leading cause of preventable infertility in American women is untreated chlamydia, which can hang out in the body for years and show no symptoms while causing irreparable damage to the fallopian tubes or seminiferous tubules in men. Testing for chlamydia is easy and painless--a simple urine test in men or vaginal swab in women will do it. You can find a testing site near you--which may do testing for free--here.

The other super important thing to do, if you're in a sexual relationship with an opposite-sex person and don't want a baby this year, is figure out how you'll prevent pregnancy and stick to it. "User failure" is the main reason people using otherwise super-effective birth control methods get pregnant, and "user failure" can mean anything from inserting a ring late to not using a backup method if you've been throwing up or having diarrhea, both of which can decrease the body's absorption of the pill. Using condoms "some of the time" or putting one on after sex starts isn't good enough, either.

If you want to track your cycle, check out CycleBeads. You can download an app for your iPhone or iPad that will track your fertile days, or you can purchase the physical beads.

You could also get a long-term method, like the IUD, before everything happening in healthcare goes to shit. One thing is for certain--abortion is going to be harder to get, and probably more expensive. So if you want to not be pregnant, it's going to be a lot easier and cheaper to avoid it on the front end.

Give a Gift to Those in Need

If you have health insurance, a killer vibrator, and a reliable birth control method and still have some money left over, this is the year to contribute financially to those who might not have the same choices as you. I haven't yet heard of a charity that gives sex toys to homeless women [Babeland, are you listening?] but one way you can help is to contribute to a local abortion fund. Cost is one of the hugest barriers for women who need abortions, and you can help a woman in desperate need by finding the fund that serves your area and making a donation. In Texas, the Lilith Fund, the Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Jim Wimberly Fund [just for Planned Parenthood in Austin] help women get the services they need.

Here's to a great year in sex.
xoxo,
Julie Sunday