Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No Babies: The Pill

The first birth control pill was FDA approved for use as a contraceptive in 1960. By 1964, 25% of all American couples were using them as their primary method of contraception, and today they are the most commonly used method of birth control in the US. Many people credit the introduction of The Pill as the start of the sexual revolution.

you say you want a rev-o-lu-shu-uu-uun...

Most birth control pills are comprised of a combination of two hormones: estrogen and progestin, though some contain progestin only. These hormones prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, so when spermies show up, there's nothing for them to fertilize. They also thicken cervical mucus (to make it harder for spermies to swim) and thin the uterine lining (so if on the off-chance something is fertilized, there's no soft warm place for it to latch on to and grow into a person.)

The Pill (of which there are a zillion brands to choose from) comes in monthly packs that cost between $15-$50. The packs usually contain 28 active pills and 7 placebo pills, which allow for a menstrual period each month. Some newer pills, though, come in packs without placebo pills, with the intention of reducing the number of periods women have each year, which I think is rad.

Birth control pills are taken once a day, and should be taken at the same time every day. This is super important, because each pill is formulated to work for 24 hours, and 24 hours only. A delay in replenishing the medication, even of just a few hours, can conceivably leave the body unprotected. If a pill is skipped, or more than a few hours late, it should be taken as soon as its remembered, and a backup method should be used for the rest of the month. It's a drag, but it's the reality.

There are considerable side effects of The Pill, though not all of them are considered negative. Happy side effects include a reduction in facial and body acne, the regulation of wacky menstrual cycles and the reduction in severity of menstrual cramps. They can also reduce the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which is something I did not know! I love learning new things!

On the negative end of the side effect train are weight gain (about 5lb., on average), nausea and vomiting, mood alteration, reduction in sex drive and vaginal lubrication, bleeding between periods, and an increased risk for blood clots and stroke, especially in women who smoke cigarettes or have certain kinds of migraine headaches.

It's very important that all your healthcare providers knows you're taking birth control pills, as there are medications (like some antibiotics and anti-depressants) that can kill the efficacy of The Pill.

So, it's not right for everyone (I, for example, have experienced every single negative side effect of every pill I've ever tried), but birth control pills are crazy effective and very safe. If your bod can handle the side effects, and your brain can remember to take them on time, it's an excellent, safe and extremely popular choice for No Babies!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ballistic Twirl

I read in a book once that bird penises remain inside bird bodies, except during sexual intercourse, for aerodynamic purposes. I've never had reason to doubt this, but after seeing this possibly NSFW video, my belief in the concept is cemented:

"Ballistic Penis" - not just a good band name, it's a real thing!

Oh. My. God. Did you see that?! It's twirly! I never stopped to think about what a duck's penis would look like, because...well, I don't think about ducks that way. But never, in my wildest dreams, would I have guessed a duck penis would be huge and twirly. Or ballistic!

The penises have to be to be huge and twirly because duck vaginas are - get this - deep and twirly! This deep, twirly, highly muscled vagina evolved to help the mama duck control who would be papa to her ducklings. If she's excited about a duck, she will loosen her muscles and essentially guide him down the long and winding road. If she's not interested, she can clamp down and keep him out in the cold.

Ducks have rape-proof vaginas. Now that is smart. Go evolution.

A more detailed explanation can be found here and here. And many thanks to my sister's amoureux for sending me an article that will forever make Howard the Duck even MORE creepy!

kinky, indeed

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka, Peeps

Or so our president, my sister and many other sunny Hawaiian folk are uttering this fine Christmas morning!

Whether or not you believe in the virgin birth that many are celebrating today, we all can use the lessons in kindness, compassion and acceptance that baby is said to have brought the world. May you be both the bearer and the recipient of those gifts throughout the upcoming year.

Thanks so much for reading, everyone (please keep doing so!!) and the very best of the season to you and yours. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Kinsey Scale

Alfred Kinsey, the granddaddy of modern sexuality research, believed that human sexual orientation is a variable thing. That a people's sexual thoughts, desires and behavior toward either their own or the opposite sex can be fluid over time. To exemplify this idea, he and his colleagues used their extensive research to devise The Kinsey Scale:

0 - exclusively heterosexual
1 - mostly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 - mostly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 - equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 - mostly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 - mostly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 - exclusively homosexual

I believe almost everyone is somewhere between 1 & 2 or 4 & 5, especially considering you don't necessarily need to have sex with someone to tip the scales. It's most culturally acceptable for straight women to indulge in such fantasies (in the brain and in life, not to mention porn), but I think most every person of every stripe dabbles with their "Other" at least once or twice, even if it's only in a private sexy fantasy.

I love the Kinsey scale because it shows this 'dabbling' to be the natural expression of human sexuality that it is. A straight man can get hard thinking about sucking a guy off without being gay. A gay man can get hard thinking about licking a woman's breasts without being straight. Hell, according to this scale, they can even do those things without needing to rearrange their whole sexual identity.

That's the beautiful thing - we all can, men and women alike, without any shame. And healthy sexuality free from shame is what we're aiming for here at Chakabox. It's what we're all about! Thank you Granddaddy Kinsey!

I leave you with a little something we can all shamelessly enjoy, I daresay even you Level 6 boys and Level 0 girls, because holy crap, Charlize is a stone FOX stomping down the hallway gettin' all nekkid:

Nope, I am not a Kinsey 0. And I suddenly want some perfume...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The singles scene is a nightmare. Maybe it's just me (who is autistic-like with my avoidance of crowded rooms full of loud music and flashing lights), but trying to meet someone actually interesting in the full light of day in a club or bar is nigh unto impossible.

Then there's the internet. Some people are freakin' wizards at internet dating. One of my best friends met her adorable Dutch husband online, and while another has not yet met the man of her dreams, she's met some amazing people and will get an incredible book out of it. For most people, though, it's an exercise in awkward silences and disappointment.

There's something new out there, though: PlayDate US. This company sets up evenings where single people come, pay a $10-$15 cover charge and play games. All kinds of games! Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Musical Chairs, CatchPhrase, Pictionary...the list goes on. There's also a cash bar, food and a dance floor with a DJ. FUN!


I looked around to find out what people thought about PlayDate, and most seem to think that the games break the ice really well and make people come out of their shell in ways they don't in a bar or club. Personally, I think it's great to have a venue where cleverness and wit can be displayed as prominently as a beautiful body.

The only negatives I could find were that the evenings tend to get crowded, and that "it's kind of for old people". Age, however, is always relative...the average participant in a PlayDate is in their early to mid thirties. Ba dum bum.

Have you participated in one of these events? Are you planning to? Let me know about your experience!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sexing up White Elephant

We went to a White Elephant party over the weekend. My idea was to take some of the freebie insurance calendars we have lying around the apartment, but the Manfriend pointed out that was lame. With my wheels turning, I thought about the most prominent white elephant gift in my memory.

Several years ago, at an exchange peopled primarily with Microsoft employees and their associated conference schwag, I ended up with practically the only gift not emblazoned with a stupid flying window logo: an issue of Penthouse and a copy of Anal Fever on bright-red VHS tape. Perhaps it was the slew of dirty looks shot my way all night from the ponytailed (I kid you not!) programmer from whom I stole the porny goodness, but I have never forgotten that gift.

Alas, Anal Fever was not available for this weekend's fete because my ex-boyfriend broke it years ago while trying to catch the Fever while I was in the shower one day. He could have waited until I was out of the shower, I suppose, but he was a pretty selfish guy. Super hot, though.

Anyway, we agreed that a box of condoms and a Penthouse would be an excellent addition to the evening's gifting festivities. On the way to our local purveyor of such things, I decided to stop by Babeland (the best sex toy shop ever) just in case they had anything cheap and fun. Note to all: Babeland is an excellent place to find cheap, fun and sexy White Elephant gifts!

The party was a blast, and our cherry-flavored pasties and candy g-string were among the most fought-for gifts. They were unable to top the appeal of 10 lottery tickets, but did beat out the singing/dancing stuffed chihuahua and the - can you believe it? - James Bond wall calendar. We came home with gourmet cookies and Polish booze. This suits us well.

To close, I have an announcement for unmarried men in the Greater Seattle Metropolitan area who are not assholes or mama's boys: there is a smart, sexy, soon-to-be-divorced 6th grade science teacher with newly procured edible underthings that will be looking for a good time here in a bit. If that's not fantasy fulfillment waiting to happen, I don't know what is!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Pearl of Africa Loses Some Lustre

Uganda is a beautiful green country in central Africa, a place so fertile and verdant that you could bury a rock it it's rich, red soil and it would sprout little rock trees. The air is thick with moisture, and filled with more butterflies than you ever knew existed. I worked at a hospital in its capital city for a couple months back in 2005, and was forever changed by it. For all its beauty, though, it's at the center of some real ugliness at the moment.

Sassy Posing Girls: a universal truth

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. Gay and lesbian Ugandans face violence, employment discrimination, arrest and even life imprisonment. New pending legislation would add insult to injury.

Anyone found guilty of one same-sex encounter would face life imprisonment. A family member or friend found to have helped a gay or lesbian person with their 'unnatural' lifestyle - or even knowing about it without reporting it - could be jailed for anywhere from 3 to 7 years. And though recent reports say that the final bill will exclude such language, the original wording would impose death on 'serial offenders' and gays and lesbians with HIV+. Death. WTF.

Look, I respect that there are cultural and religious differences between countries. I also respect that people feel differently about the nature of homosexuality, no matter how much I may disagree with some of them. But I do not respect lawmakers that would kill their own people for no other crime but loving differently than they do. I do not respect a government that allows fundamentalist religion to dictate the human rights of its constituents.

There are some good articles about the situation here, here and here. This is not the first darkness that Uganda has undergone, and when viewed from a certain angle, not the darkest. What it is, however, is a finite, preventable action (rejecting the bill) that will save Ugandan lives. And I am all for anything that does that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Babies: Implanon

This one is relatively new - it was FDA approved in 2006. Implanon is a tiny rod that's inserted into a woman's upper arm that delivers a continuous supply of the hormone progestin, which prevents ovulation (among other things) for about 3 years. It's similar to an older product called Norplant, which was discontinued in the US in 2000, but is more effective and has fewer side effects.

these guns ain't tryin' to have no babies

Implantation is done with a local anesthetic, takes only a few minutes, and costs between $400-$800. Removal also occurs under local anesthetic, but takes longer than implantation and only costs between $75-$150. Both are usually covered by insurance or Medicaid.

Implanon is more than 99% effective, meaning less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant while using it. It's progestin-only, so women who can't take estrogen or are breastfeeding can use it. Monthly period often become lighter and less frequent, with 1 in 3 women stop having a period altogether after about 6 months. If a woman wants to get pregnant, she can usually do so within a month or two of removing the implant.

There can be spotting between periods for the first 6 months or so, and there can be some discoloration, scarring and pain at the implant site. Other than that, the side effects are similar to that of other hormonal birth control: nausea, decreased sex drive, sore boobs, weight gain and mood swings.

From what I can see, women are split on Implanon. Those who like it really like it - a former co-worker of mine loved hers, and she was not one to be shy with complaints. Most women do experience some of the side effects listed above, especially in the first 6 months, but for some they either go away or are not troublesome. For others, though, the symptoms are more serious - acne, constant nausea, headaches and serious mood disturbance. Several women reported needing to have the implant removed after only 8-12 weeks.

I would personally hesitate before using Implanon, but systemic hormonal birth control tends to make me go batshit crazy. If hormones are something you tolerate well, though, Implanon sounds like it could be your new best friend.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Gift for Your Lady Love

The other day, the Manfriend came in from our TV room and asked,

"Babe, what would you say if I got you a Pap Smear for Christmas?"

"Umm...thank you and know you loved me, I guess?" replied the sexual health dork.

"Well, I do love you, but a Pap Smear seems like kind of a tricky present to me," said the sweetest man on wheels.

While I agree that it can be tricky, and advise making it part of a present, a Pap Smear is a fantastic gift. Even if you don't follow any of the many KwanzSolChristMukkah traditions going on this time of year, it's still a great time to celebrate the lady - and the yoni - you love. Help make sure they're both healthy and happy for many New Year celebrations to come!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Seriously, I love me some Lady Gaga. She is beyond fabulous. She's not the first to do the whole life-and-fashion-as-art thing, but ohmigod she does it so damn well with her teacups and her fashion and her never wearing pants. She's just delicious.

Recently, the buzz around le Gaga has been all aswirl...omg, does she have a penis?!?! Is she a MAN?!?! Well, here it is from her own scrumptious dollface:

"It's not something that I'm ashamed of, just isn't something that I go around telling everyone. Yes. I have both male and female genitalia, but I consider myself a female. It's just a little bit of a penis and really doesn't interfere much with my life. The reason I haven't talked about it is that it's not a big deal to me. Like come on. It's not like we all go around talking about our vags. I think this is a great opportunity to make other multiple gendered people feel more comfortable with their bodies. I'm sexy, I'm hot. I have both a poon and a peener. Big f*cking deal."

How can you not admire someone that down with being exactly who she is?! This woman grew up with a penis in a country where girls destroy themselves over a couple of extra pounds, and she came out of it as a positive, smart, talented and successful woman in love with herself and her body. If that's not something to look up to, I don't know what is.

Get some Gaga!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's Sexy This Holiday Season

D&G would like you to know that watches are sexy. So sexy they drive sexy people to do sexy things that shock their mothers.

I've always believed that open and honest communication is the best way to make Boyfriend okay with Other Boyfriend showing up and joining in, but apparently it's watches! Thank you, Dolce and Gabbana!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Babies: Our Intrauterine Friends

The intra-uterine device, or IUD, is extremely effective (more than 99%), and lasts for a very long time. There are 2 IUDs currently on the market: the Paragard (or 'copper T') and the Mirena. I had the Mirena placed about 3 years ago, and I heart it.

Both types look very similar - a small plastic 'T' that rests inside the uterus. The Paragard contains a small amount copper which inhibits sperm motility, while the Mirena contains a tiny amount of the hormone progestin, which prevents ovulation and thickens cervical mucus so the sperm can't swim well. The devices themselves create a physical obstacle, as well. The Paragard remains effective for 12 years, the Mirena for 5 years.

Paraguard Mirena

Both are placed by a health care professional. The placement procedure takes about 20 - 30 minutes, costs between $175 and $650, and is covered by most insurance. Now, I can't lie...the placement hurts like hell. It's supposed to be easier for women who've given vaginal birth, but even then, it's not fun. Don't fear, though...local anesthesia is available and is WORTH EVERY PENNY. It's called a 'cervical block', and it is your friend.

Side effects are few, but include spotting between periods, especially in the first several months. The Paraguard can make monthly periods heavier, which can lead to anemia, and can also make cramps worse. Mirena can stop periods completely - I only have 3-4 super light periods per year, which is win.

One rare side effect (that I experienced, unfortunately) is a temporary, but marked, decrease in sex drive. For me, it lasted about 5 months. Everything got 100% back to normal, but it definitely put a kink into my relationship for a while there, and not in the fun way.

If someone is ready to get busy right away, Paragard is effective immediately. Mirena is effective immediately if placed within 7 days of a woman's last period. If it's placed at any other time during her cycle, a backup method is needed for 1 week.

IUDs are best suited to women in monogamous sexual relationships, as the strings used for retrieval pass through the cervix into the vagina, creating a veritable superhighway for bacteria (chlamydia, gonorrhea, even normal flora) to enter into the uterus. Bacteria + uterus = OW. I have known a few health care professionals that insist women with more than one partner can safely use IUDs, but most recommend against it.

Less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant while using and IUD. Unfortunately, if a woman does get pregnant while using one, there is an increased risk for ectopic or tubal pregnancy. A woman can get pregnant within a month or two of having the IUD removed, so if "No Babies!" turns into "Babies, Please!", you're solid. They're also both safe to use while breastfeeding!

An IUD gives the protection and forget-about-it-ness of permanent birth control without having to commit to the permanent part. It's the most effective non-permanent method (some say it's most effective, full stop) and also the most cost-effective. That equals 2 thumbs up 'round these parts!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kiwi Jerk

There is room for all kinds of selfishness when sex is involved. It can range from benign (cutting oral sex a little short from time to time because it's been a long day and your face is getting tired) to insidious (sabotaging birth control in the hopes a baby will save a relationship) to criminal (roofies).

But fer serious, this guy wins the dubious title of King of the Selfish Assholes.

Short version: guy in New Zealand finds out he's HIV+ during a routine physical. His wife and children are not infected. Wife stays with husband, but won't have sex with him. Guy then injects her with his blood while she's sleeping so she'll also be HIV+ and therefore have sex with him again.

Way to go, prick.

I'm not sure which part of "honey, I stuck you with needles while you were sleeping and infected you with an incurable disease that could make you agonizingly sick and will likely shorten your lifespan" is supposed to inspire amorous feelings in someone. But he's facing a 14-year prison sentence in Auckland, so I'm guessing his sociopathic plan didn't exactly go as he'd hoped.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Defile It, Baby!

A zillion years ago, I learned that the verb 'to masturbate' meant 'to fool oneself' in some ancient language. As it turns out, this is wrong. How the modern word came about is a little convoluted, but to sum up, it actually means "to defile [oneself] with the hand". Not quite as catchy as 'to fool oneself', but still very good to know!

Unsurprisingly enough, I'm a big fan of masturbation. I think it's something absolutely everyone should do on a regular basis - men and women, young and old, whether single or partnered. It gets people familiar with how they like to be touched. It provides an escape from reality - to a place where the sex is always good! It's also a way for people to pamper themselves a little and to love on themselves for a while.

Joycelyn Elders, one of the most awesomest humans ever, was appointed Surgeon General by Bill Clinton in 1993. Just over a year later, at a United Nations AIDS conference, she said that promoting masturbation to young people as an alternative to riskier behaviors was an idea worth considering. She was promptly fired by the White House, instantly becoming a martyr for reason and rational thought.

In fact, it was only after hearing about Bush II's abstinence-only-sex-education plans that I stopped believing the government couldn't get any stupider than firing someone for suggesting it's ok for kids to masturbate. But, as usual, I digress. I do that, if you hadn't noticed.

We'll get into the nitty-gritty of self love on another day. For today, I just want to state that everyone should be putting out for themselves from time-to-time. You deserve to get some just the way you like it, even if you're not ready to share exactly what that is yet. And no matter how well or how regularly you might be getting some from a partner, make sure to save a dance for yourself every once in a while.

Finally! An excuse for a Glee clip!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Various Miscellany for Your Consideration

I have been totally neglecting my Chakabox duties in the face of Thanksgiving and graduate school interviews (fingers crossed, please!) and the wedding of my friend-since-I-was-6-months-old (yay M+K 4evr!!!), but I have been gathering awesome tidbits of knowledge for your enjoyment and enrichmentizing!

1. First Thanksgiving shocker: Pilgrims weren't as prudish as you might think! If you were a married pilgrim, you could get as freaky as you wanted. They did have all kinds of laws against unmarried sex, though, and said they'd kill anyone who broke them (they were puritans, after all) but they usually just ended up flogging people and putting them in the stocks for a while. The only thing they'd actually kill you for is schtupping the livestock. They killed one guy for schtupping the livestock, anyway.
totally asking for it

2. My family was sitting around the appetizers on Thanksgiving and my uncle told us the craziest story about his vasectomy: when the electric cauterization began, his veins conducted the electricity throughout his whole body like he was being tazed. It happens very rarely - his doctor had only seen it once before in his whole career and was super excited about it. Unlike my 18-year-old cousin, who was not excited to hear a story about her father's junk.

3. Happy day after World AIDS Day! The first World AIDS Day was celebrated on December 1, 1988 to bring attention to the growing AIDS epidemic. Since then, it's celebration has been used to promote education, reduce stigma and increase prevention efforts around the world. World AIDS Day is accepted pretty much universally - even the Pope (JPaul and Benedict) sends a greeting out each year. Here's some ways to help, with the fight, iffin' ya wanna!
any color = too many