Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Purity Test!

When we were about 14, my sister came home with this 'test' - The Purity Test. I have no idea where she got it, but I discovered it accidentally whilst sneaking into her room to steal her Doc Martens. Which I feel kinda bad for, but I'm over it already. Love ya, sisterperson, fo reals.

Anyway, the Purity Test was supposedly created by frat brothers at some college somewhere. My best guess is that they were trying to create a metric by which to determine girls' willingness to get freaky. Who knows if any of it is true, but if that was their goal, they did a pretty good job.

The original test has 500 yes-or-no questions, and is broken down into sections: friendship/dating, sex (several different sections on sex), masturbation, illegal activities, drugs, fetishes, etc.

The questions start out very basic in each section:
(have you ever held hands with someone?)
...then get more serious:
(have you ever gone to work or class under the influence of drugs?)
...and then they just go there:
(had sex or oral sex with an animal in the presence of 1 or more people?)

My girlfriends and I used to take this test together at regular intervals for years. It was a blast - tons of giggling and talking and learning new things (which makes it a great bachelorette party activity, if you're looking for that type of thing!) I wish I knew what the experience was like for guys, but I've never known any guys to take it. Men! Take the test! Tell me what it's like!

The first time I did it, I scored in the 90th percentile, which is good, because I was, like, 14. By the time we did it the last time in my early 20s, it had gone down considerably. I just took it again...and those frat boys would want a second look at me. It's a fun way to kill some time and learn something about yourself - you can even get some ideas. Just...not about animals, okay?

Monday, November 23, 2009


After plugging vasectomy as the superior choice for couples looking for permanent birth control, I got an email from Nicole, senior account executive with Loomis Group. Nicole is part of the team that is marketing a type of female sterilization method that I had neglected to mention: Essure.

The Essure system places a nickel coil into each fallopian tube using a 'simple, in-office' procedure. The system was FDA approved in 2002. Both Nicole and the Essure website make it sound fantastic - short recovery time, no anesthesia required, no incisions and high efficacy. However, advertising executives and websites are around to make shit smell like roses, so I decided to do a little more digging.

you want to put that where?

Research shows that women do tend to be happy with the procedure compared to standard laparoscopic tubal ligation. It sounds like if it goes well, it's pretty great. The procedure is only supposed to take about 15 minutes, and usually works after about 3 months (alternate birth control is required in the interim), and works permanently.

However, the stories from women who've had bad experiences scare the crap out of me. First of all, it may be simple, but it's not painless - which is not surprising considering it has to be placed through the cervix. Pain, bleeding, expelled coils...yowtch. It also appears that the coils are difficult to remove without at least a partial hysterectomy. Internet forums are hardly unbiased reporting, but they're also unsolicited and uncompensated.

So, I'm sticking with my guns and going on record as saying that vasectomy is the way to go, but think that Essure is definitely something for women with higher pain threshold than I to talk to their docs about. If you've had Essure placed and are willing to share your experience, please comment!!

Finally, although I can't fully recommend the product, I appreciate Nicole for contacting me and letting me know I'd missed something - and for being the first person I don't know to read Chakabox. Thanks, Nicole!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Babies: Women Go Under The Knife

Tubal ligation is the clinical name for female sterilization. The fallopian tubes are altered in such a way that egg and sperm can't ever get together. There are 4 methods utilized to make sure those frisky cells don't dance their magical conception dance:
  • cutting the fallopian tubes then re-attaching them off-kilter (most common)
  • squeezing the tubes shut with clips, causing scar tissue to permanently block them
  • same as above except using fancy hi-tech silicone rings in place of clips
  • cauterizing teach tube closed with electrical current (can be done laparoscopically)
You will notice that none of the methods involve any tying of any tubes, but "she got her tubes tied" is just catchier than 'she got a partial salpingectomy'.

knot tying badge not required

These procedures can be done under general or epidural/spinal anesthesia. If general anesthesia is used, there is no pain at all during the procedure, but there can be some discomfort if the epidural is chosen. Happy drugs are usually given in conjunction with the epidural option. The cost can be anywhere from about $1500 to $6000.

Recovery can take everywhere from a couple of days to a week or two. Aside from pain, there can be some period-like symptoms...bleeding, gassy feeling, cramping, etc. Sexual abstinence is recommended for at least a week, and alternate forms of birth control are needed until blockage is confirmed if the clip/ring procedure was performed.

Tubal ligation is intended to be permanent. It can be reversed, but it's a pretty serious surgery. As a result, it's generally difficult for women under 30 find someone to do it for them. It has a failure rate of less than 1%, but when it does fail there's an increased risk of it ending up as a tubal or ectopic pregnancy, which is lame.

All in all, folks, a vasectomy seems a whole lot easier than tubal ligation to me. It carries less risk and costs a WHOLE lot less. Should it come time to choose sterilization in Chakabox world...here's hoping the Manfriend can be convinced to wear an ice jock for a couple of days. I'd totally make it worth his while.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chakabox Answerbox

[First, a little background: There are 2 distinct types of herpes simplex virus, or HSV: type 1 and type 2. HSV1 most commonly causes cold sores, and about 80% of Americans have it. HSV2 is the cause of most genital herpes, and about 25% of Americans have it. Despite these location 'preferences', both viruses can live either place.]

This morning a friend sent me an email asking me to confirm or deny the following statement, and both the asker and I thought it would a great first entry to the Chakabox Answerbox:

"Acquisition of one type [of herpes] is more difficult - though certainly possible - if you already have the other type. This is because either type, contracted orally or genitally, causes the body to produce [immune proteins called] antibodies, some of which are active against both HSV-1 and 2. This acquired immune response gives some limited protection if the body encounters a second type." (text taken from http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html*)

In the experience and knowledge of Chakabox, this statement is mostly true. HSV2 infection does appear to protect against subsequent HSV1 infection. Meaning, if you get genital herpes first, you're not going to get cold sores in the future. It's a small thing, but sometimes you've gotta find the bright side.

The same can't be said about HSV1 infection, however. There is some protection afforded, it's true, but not in a way that's interesting to anyone but infectious disease researchers. The practical reality is that having cold sores will not prevent you from getting genital herpes down the line. I can't find the bright side to that, but here's this.

If you have any questions about this entry to the Answerbox - or about anything regarding sex or sexuality - please write me! Your name will remain out of it unless you expressly tell me you'd like it used. I love questions, have lots of resources and would love to hear from you. The submission email is Answerbox@chakabox.com!

*www.herpes.com is a good site. Very thorough, generally up-to-date and factual, despite all the ads. Just ignore the ads - they're all malarkey, and this coming from someone who believes in naturopathic medicine.

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Babies: Men Go Under the Knife (or not, apparently!)

A vasectomy is a procedure that cuts or blocks a man's vasa deferentia, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles during ejaculation. Traditional vasectomies involve a small incision in the scrotum. Newer, 'no-scalpel' vasectomies do not.

Both procedures are hella outpatient - traditional ones take about 20 minutes, the no-scalpel methods only 5-10! Local anesthesia is used, and if a guy's nervous, he can ask for sleepy/happy drugs.

Recovery time ranges from a day to a week (no-scalpel methods boast shorter recovery time). Not having a scrotum or vasa deferentia, I can't really imagine what a vasectomy would feel like, but it doesn't sound horrible - I saw the pain generally classified as 'moderate', 'achy', and well controlled with OTC painkillers. Ice and a jock strap for a day or so also appear to be keys to happy post-snip balls.

nope, can't even imagine

Sexual abstinence is recommended for a week following the procedure, but there should be no lasting sexual side effects once recovery is complete. An additional form of birth control is needed for the first 3 months to make sure no stragglers try and make a run for glory.

There is less than a 1% chance that a vasectomy will fail, making it the most effective form of male birth control available. The procedure is intended to be permanent, so it's definitely something to think about before having it done. Prices range from about $350 - $1000, and many insurance plans cover the procedure in at least one form.

For those of us who love balls, it can seem a little freaky to go messing with them like this. But, as a fan myself, I wouldn't tell y'all it's safe if it wasn't. Cross my heart and hope to die, fer serious.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Babies: 100% Effective

There are 3 methods of birth control that are utterly foolproof. No matter how drunk you are, no matter how caught up in the moment you are, no matter how hard you try:

1. Same-sex partners

The whole birth control thing is moot if you're shaggin' your own sex. Gay and lesbian couples can raise babies as well as anyone, but making them...that's a different story.

2. Hysterectomy
GTFO, uterus

Taking it out merely to prevent pregnancy is not a good call, because it also creates and helps regulate a woman's hormones. However, if the uterus is removed for other reasons, not having to worry about birth control is a bonus. No oven, no bun. Commence boning.

3. Abstinence from intercourse.

Now, I'm not suggesting replacing sex with a walk in the woods or a rousing game of Uno. I'm suggesting that it's possible to be sexy while making sure your tingly bits don't ever touch. Easy tip for success - only one person gets to be naked at a time!

Next up - the almost foolproof!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Babies!!

For the most part, animals have little need for birth control. The only reason most species have sex at all is for reproduction. Some do have sex for fun (humans, bonobo chimps and dolphins, to name a few), but if dolphins are boning for fun and that fun leads to babies...well, what else are they doing? It's not like dolphins need to pay for fish or decide if they want to establish a career before having kids.

We humans, however, do have these considerations, and need to be a little more careful with our fun. For one thing, just because two people CAN have a baby, doesn't mean they should. I mean, 13-year-olds and meth addicts can have babies - 'nuff said. Secondly, not everyone wants to have children, and even those that do mostly don't want a million of them.

Three (or nine million) cheers for birth control! It allows humans to enjoy their bodies without making new ones until they're good and ready to make them. There are tons of options available: condoms, hormones, spermicides, cervical barriers - we'll get to them all. So sit back and enjoy the cavalcade of contraception!!
just say no

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chakabox's 5 Most Memorable Sex Scenes

1. Secretary (2002)

Elbows ON the table, please

(Starts at 12:40) Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has been released from a mental hospital after a severe self-mutilation incident, and has gotten a secretarial job for a seemingly uptight Edward (James Spader). Shy, quiet Lee has become increasingly attracted to the forceful Edward, and her submissiveness is extremely attractive to him. This scene is the beginning of a sexual and personal awakening for them both, and is one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed ever.

2. The Name of the Rose (1986)
That's not the volume he's pumping up....

(Starts at about 0:27) Young apprentice monk Melk (Christian Slater) is helping to investigate a series of bizarre deaths in an abbey. During the investigation he is seduced by a beautiful peasant girl (Valentina Vargas) who has come to the abbey to trade sex for food. My sister and I watched this movie with our parents when we were about 13, and they totally fast-forwarded through this scene, immediately making it the most memorable sex scene I never saw.

3. Original Sin (2001)

Looking at Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas is the only reason to see this movie about a hot Cuban businessman and his hot-but-sketchy wife. If you go in with that understanding, it's a cinematic masterpiece. After looking amazing in corsets and suspenders for a while, they get naked and look amazing. Then they have lots of sex while looking amazing, and then look amazing while some crap I didn't pay attention to happens. What's really amazing, though, is that a major Hollywood studio released something this explicit.

4. Monster's Ball (2001)
this does not make me feel good

Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) has recently witnessed his son's suicide, and likely helped drive him to it. Leticia's (Halle Berry) husband has recently been executed, and her son (to whom she was not kind) has just been killed in an accident. The sex these two have on the night of that accident is brutal and desperate, but not without tenderness as they try and obliterate their pain with each others' bodies. Berry went on to win Best Actress for this role.

5. Stealing Beauty (1996)


19-year-old Lucy (Liv Tyler) is spending the summer with family friends in Tuscany after her mother's suicide to find herself, her real father and to lose her virginity (we're not talking American Pie style, here. This is art, dammit). After several disappointing encounters with sexy Europeans and figuring out the whole dad thing, she finds herself on top of a golden Tuscan hill watching the sun set with her friend Osvaldo (Ignazio Oliva), who reveals that he's loved her since her first trip. They proceed to have the sweetest, most awkward, most wonderful first time that anyone could possibly hope for. Sigh, indeed.

For your further perusing pleasure, the Independent Film Channel has listed their top 50 sex scenes here. Share your favorite or most memorable in the comments!