Category Archives: Education

Opting Into Ignorance

Freedom of education? Not on my tax dollar, bub.

The province of Alberta, here in Canada, has opted to make matters of sex, sexual orientation,* and religion OPTIONAL for their students. Parents can yank their kids out of school when they disagree with the premise at hand. [Story here.]

Religion? Okay. Fine. I’ll give you that. Make that optional. I not only understand having strong beliefs on faith, I respect it. I do not, however, understand refusing to listen to other views, not having faith in your children to be intelligent enough to hear more than one viewpoint, or shutting down education when it seems fit,  because I feel that teaches children that the teachers and education itself are not credible.

But on matters of sex? Sex education?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Continue reading

Putting My Foot Down On You, Dr. Scholl

I’m interviewing at an ad agency or two tomorrow. No, I won’t be doing any of the ad copy work or anything, more of a save-the-sanity support office worker, since I excel at that. But advertising is something I’ve always been very, very interested in.

Remember the movie Crazy People, from years back? Daryll Hannah and Dudley Moore? “Jaguar: For men who like handjobs from beautiful women.” Or, “Volvo: They’re boxy, but they’re safe.”

It was a comedy about truth in advertising that emerges when an ad-copy writer has a breakdown and is sent to an insane asylum. He decides to stop lying to the public and tells the truth. He enlists the help of his fellow nuthausers and they reinvent advertising. (My favourite was the Sony one, where the shortness of Japanese assembly-line folks meant better quality control as they were hovered closer to the microchip boards than the tall, gangly American counterparts who were so tall they couldn’t see the fine melds and such. Heh.)

Every year, I go and I see the film of The World’s Best Commercials for that year. I love good advertising.

But I fucking hate bad ads.

Case in point: Dr. Scholl’s for Her.

There’s this new open-toe gel shoe pad made for stilettos and the like, by Dr. Scholl’s. For some fucking reason, there’s this chick in a skin-tight micro tube dress, wearing strapless stilettos (that magically stay on) as her legs dangle off one side of a bareback horse, and she lies back over the hump of this horse, prostrated.

Because I do that in my stilettos every fucking day. And other things I do in my stiletto, apparently, include walking my dog on a reinforcing dike in the ocean, playing tennis, and more.

Who the fuck is this ad for? Who’s the guy smoking crack who seems to think THIS is what’s gonna sell these shoe pads to a woman?

How about having a real situation? Oh, I don’t know… maybe an intelligent woman with spring in her step as she delivers a brilliant closing statement in a law court case? Maybe you have a group of men, all sweating and nervous, desperately awaiting a job interview in a crowded, awkward office, as this sexy chick who holds all their fates in her hands strides towards them, with a I-Own-Your-Ass, And-You-Know-You-Want-Mine look on her face?

I’m surprised they didn’t just get to the point and have some chick in clear pumps spinning her way down a pole, since apparently we’re all just whores who use our bodies for advancement in life.

How about we move the fuck away from more of this objectifying, lame-ass look at chicks today, and into the realm where women really are becoming powerbrokers? Remember, sexy and smart don’t have to be oil and water.

They’re only oil and water because the media doesn’t want us to forget that it’s our asses that count, not the grey matter in our heads.

I, for one, will never, ever buy another Dr. Scholl’s product. This ad pisses me off THAT much. I’m sick and tired of seeing women whose bodies you can bounce quarters of, with brains the size of the quarter, as being the ideal that I’m supposed to somehow strive for.

My ass is copious. As is my intellect. How about selling to me, you assholes?

(If you’re looking for an update on my employment woes, I’ve been keeping that shit over on the other blog. It’s been one hell of a week for me, emotionally, and keeping it together’s one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced. I’m scared as hell, but I’m proud as hell of how I’ve been dealing. I’ll be glad when it’s over. I hope that’s soon. I’ve earned the reprieve. If I know anything, I know that.)

Steff the Public Service Announcer

Okay, a couple of things. I’ll get back to the orgasmic neighbours tonight or tomorrow, but there are more pressing things that need mentioning.

The first being a rare but possible cause of death resulting from blowing air into a woman’s vagina. If you’re doing oral or playing around, never, ever, ever blow air into a woman’s vagina. This is not a sex myth. This is not a legend. This shit happens. The air bubble can cause an air embolism, which can then float up into the heart and essentially kill her. Not good. This condition is more likely if the woman has enlarged blood vessels resulting from pregnancy or past vaginal trauma. Since you don’t know if she has these larger vessels, don’t do dumb shit, and don’t try to cause a “pussy fart.” (During some sex moves, you’ll hear strange air sounds happening, but I don’t think that’s anything to worry about; it’s actively trying to “inflate” the woman that’s an issue. Like I sez, rare, but it does happen, and it does occasionally cause death.) And really, while everyone thinks sex is probably the best way to go out with a bang, why rush it?

You can blow on a woman’s vagina, and have fun doing so, as there seems to be no evidence of that ever causing problems. Just don’t pucker up and treat her like she’s a balloon at a kid’s party, all right?

The second thing is, the annual UNAIDS report has been released. This report is released by the United Nations’ AIDS organization and is essentially a “state of the union” report on AIDS internationally. You can find the massive, intimidating report here, which is a staggering 24MB PDF file in entirety, or you can select individual segments to read on the same URL there.

The important thing to note is that A) an increasing number of American gay men are apparently devolving and becoming STUPID FUCKHEADS because there is an increasing segment of them now engaging in unsafe sex practices because they think the dangers of HIV are somehow magically disappearing. And B) the number one cause of death in African-American women between the ages of 25-34 is now AIDS. The A-A woman is more likely to contract HIV than any other female race, and safe sex is imperative!

Safe sex is imperative whoever the hell you are. You and your partners need testing. You need to use a condom until you know you can trust your partner and you’ve both been tested. If you think they might fool around on you, insist on condoms. If you’ve ever witnessed any behaviour from them that makes you question their integrity and character, you may be risking your life by not using a condom.

Scared of hurting their pride? What, would you rather get a virus that will compromise your quality of life, threaten you with a potentially far shorter lifespan, and even make you fatally vulnerable to stupid things like the common cold? Get the fuck over yourself. Be vigilant. Condoms may kill moods, but AIDS kills you. Do the fucking math.

The CDC has a well-written and concise look at how HIV is transmitted, and if you’re at all ignorant about AIDS or HIV, you should, at the very least, read this.

Out of all the diseases in the world you can catch, the one you can most easily avoid is HIV. Responsibility saves lives. Be safe when playing with others. A friend of a friend of mine contracted HIV last year and can actually pinpoint the exact encounter in which he caught it. What a horrible thing to have to live with, the knowledge of how stupid you were in a single moment in time, and how the rest of your life is changed as a result of it. Don’t let that be you.

School Me, Babe: Relationship Education

Had I actually been a guest on Sex with Emily last Saturday night as planned, question number one from them was, “Why is your blog so popular?” Why, indeed?

If I had to say why I wish my blog was as popular as it’s proving to be, I’d say it’s because I’d like to think I’m real. But that’s a pat little answer, isn’t it?

The thing about sex writing is, it’s so easy, in theory, to write about dripping, hard cocks, about the fury and the fumbling of two people coming together in sexual union – the passion, the intensity, the fun, the excitement. The pulsing of hearts, the throbbing of members, the vaginal swelling… we’ve all experienced these things, we’ve all been on both the receiving and giving ends of pleasure, and so it’s easy to relate to when we read about others’ experiences. And if it’s not something we actually can relate to, then it’s something we live vicariously through.

Not a lot of sex writers try to tackle the emotional content under it all, though, and the ones who do tend to inspire more loyalty from their readers. I tend to focus more on the emotional aspect of it – not just the emotions we show, but those we hide. Perhaps this is why y’all dig me. Or maybe it’s my irreverence, or my honesty about my own insecurities and desires and fears and dreams. Who knows. But these are the reasons I would like to believe my blog is popular.

And it’s something I thought about when I saw this “breaking” news on the BBC site. Apparently kids find sex education classes too biological. Gee. Really?

They’re right. It is far too biological. Everything about sex originates in one place: the brain. The brain powers our emotional response, spurs our physical response, and then our juices flow, action proceeds to happen (or not), and the rest is messy history.

Funny enough, in England, the biology of sex is a mandatory class, but “personal social and health education” is optional at the institutions doing the teaching. This latter course brings education about relationship and emotional health into play.

I must have missed the memo where relationships and emotional health were optional in my own life.

In a time when divorce is the norm, moreso than happy marriages, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the ways in which we approach relationships. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the psychology/self-help departments of bookstores are the most popular non-fiction sections for a very good reason: We’re all so fucking clueless about how to deal not only with our own problems but any of the problems that might arise in our relationships.

I have a history of running from relationships when things get tough, which is why I’m stunned I’m even hanging around my present relationship at all, considering all the life-induced chaos within it. My first running-from-adversity relationship happened with a young guy named “JH,” my first real boyfriend. He fell, and he fell hard. He wrote me songs, played his guitar for me, and felt like the king of the town whenever I was around. I dumped him as soon as I saw that a divorce was imminent with my parents. I never told him why I was fucked up because I was too ashamed to admit my parents’ failure, and more ashamed to admit that I was weak emotionally.

I pulled the “but we can still be friends” bullshit and instead learned what it felt like to break someone’s heart. The guy fell apart and wrote a “you tore my heart to shreds” song for me, handed it to a friend to deliver to me, and within the week, stole a car, got arrested, and then never, ever spoke to me again.

Maybe if I’d had a better emotional upbringing I wouldn’t have fucked JH up as much as I apparently had. Who knows. I do know that I didn’t have a clue how to open up, how to trust, or how to react when the fit hit the shan. Instead, I’ve spent the better part of two decades slowly learning these lessons through bump-in-the-night, daytime talk shows, and brief flirtations with both self-help books and actual therapy.

And I’m not an exception, I’m the norm. Isn’t it time we change that?

As for “sex education,” it’s really a misnomer. I know that nothing I’ve ever had to deal with was taught to me by anyone with any authority. I learned through necessity.

I’ve had the fear of a condom breaking with a boyfriend before the age of 20, having to stroll self-consciously into a Free Clinic in order to get a morning-after pill, something I’ve had to take three times in my life. I once was so freaked out I was pregnant that I remember doing a pregnancy test ASAP after purchasing it – in the bathroom of a Subway sandwich shop. I never learned about the possible negatives of birth control pills until the last few years, because I was already so fucked up in so many ways that it just never dawned on me that my depression must have been exasperated by pill usage.

In short, everything I’ve ever learned about sex has come as a result of a need-to-know, and-now education, not before-the-fact. It has been a hard road getting to the place I’m at now, considering I was raised by sexually ignorant parents who weren’t comfortable talking about sex, and schooled by a high school that didn’t teach sex ed. Of my friends, I was one of the first to get laid, even though I was 17, and none of us ever talked about sex. When I lost my cherry, my only education was that provided by television and movies. I had no idea why the hell there was a wet spot, and it scared the crap out of me.

I didn’t understand all the emotions that came with sex, and I didn’t understand that a kiss was just a kiss, not an undying declaration of love. I wasn’t hurt by love; I was destroyed by it, and all because I was ignorant of the power relationships could have over us.

Teaching us the biology of sex does little to prepare us for the emotional overload that comes from relationships. Teaching us about human relationships and the dynamics of emotional response would far better prepare us for life and love, and it’s damned well time schools began to embrace that reality.

In the final paragraph of the article I’ve cited, some talking head spouts this sentiment:

“We trust teachers to use their professional judgement to decide which organisations can support teaching and learning in the classroom and which resources best support schools’ sex and relationship programmes.”

Jesus. Let’s not trust the teachers, okay? Let’s convene some people in-the-know to talk about what needs to be learned by kids today, and then create a program that includes all those essential facets, so as to stem relationship problems, improve self-esteem, and build emotional resilience. Violence in schools is greater than ever, bullying is at an all-time high, and divorces are skyrocketing.

Isn’t it time we learn about emotional health as part of our curriculum? ‘Cos we’re clearly fucked without it.

READER SAYS: My Sex Drive’s Out of Gear

First things: Here’s where I remind you people that I’m not a doctor. I have no degrees in any medical or scientific discipline. I’m schooled in common sense and street smarts, and that’s it. In more blunt terms? Take my words for what they’re worth – an interested party offering an opinion, nothing more. In other words? I’m not liable.

All right, so, a reader emailed me. When she hooked up with this guy, it was all sex, all the time. Playtime was gold, and she couldn’t get enough. And then? Nothing.

Suddenly, she’s got zero sex drive. As she says, I am 100% uninterested. It is absolutely uncanny. I have no desire – not towards him, or ANYONE, male or female. If I even wanted to cheat right now, I wouldn’t be able. I used to be this voracious sex creature, all my life – and now, I’m just a sexless zombie. I was on The Pill for a while but I was certain it was fucking up my natural “sexy” hormones, so I stopped about 2 months ago in favor of condoms, basal thermometers, herbs, and moon cycles, which has in fact made me feel a lot better— just NOT SEXY!!!

So, then her question is, What I need to know is, how can I transform myself back into the hormonal sex-on-the-brain tigress I used to be?

Oh, here. Let me just wave my magic wand. POOF. There, that should do it! Oh, it didn’t work? Damn.

The thing about feeling sexy is, it tends to be an indicator of all the other things going on in your life. More on that in a minute. The problem with having that “I’m too sexy for this shirt” feeling dissipating on you is, we’re surrounded by sexuality all the time. The media tells us we have to be beautiful. Society tells us constantly that they judge our books by our covers. Our relationships are supposed to be value-rated by how hot the sex is. The pharmaceutical companies have gotten in on the act with Viagra and Cialis and all those other fun little drugs so we can be sex gods for all the wrong reasons.

The little dark secret that no one wants to talk about is that feeling sexual can go up in smoke pretty fucking fast. There isn’t one thing that could be causing your problems, it’s many.

  • Fatigue (overwork, lack of sleep)
  • Depression (seasonal moods, moodiness)
  • Diet (lack of iron, lack of protein, etc)
  • Underlying relationship problems
  • Worries (money, school, future, life)
  • Fitness (not enough cardio, etc)

And more. Let’s look at your specifics then.

Your relationship has changed for a number of reasons. Your guy’s in a new job that leaves him being less of the guy you used to know – a guy who was creative and passionate and now is a guy in front of a computer, doing a draining and uninspired job.

You were on birth control, something that is well known for affecting sexual sensitivity as well as sex drive. But you fucked up, honey. You went all knee-jerk and stopped taking the pill smack-dab in the middle of your cycle, and you had NO medical consultation before doing so. For anyone else thinking of this: Don’t. Stopping the pill in the middle of your cycle is borderline dumb, because it’ll fuck up your cycle, but worse, it’ll really mess with your hormones. Unfortunately, many chicks don’t know this because the medical information that comes with pills is written in fucking medical/legal-ese.

Pills really do a number on us. Guys will never, ever understand how much pills can fuck us up until we decide to be cruel and shoot them up with estrogen overloads. Here’s an example from my own life, all right?

I started my cycle a day late back in January. It’s five months later and my period has still not returned to normal. I changed it by a SINGLE DAY, and I’m still paying the price. The medical professionals say, “Oh, it takes three months for your system to get back on track.” Know what that’s called? The lowest common denominator. They take all the data from all the chicks who’ve gone awry on their cycle, and they find average length of recovery, and that’s the magic number. Trouble is, every number has exceptions. Hi, I’m Steff, and I’ll be your exception.

No matter what else you talk to your doctor about, you need to tell him/her you did this. Go and ask what it may have done to you. The trouble is, doctors don’t tend to believe too much in pills causing depression and things like that. My doctor was sort of disbelieving when I said I was depressed by way of my pills last fall. Gradually, he came to understand it had to be the case. Since then, I’ve been trying different pills, but I’m still less sexually sensitive than I was, and my sex drive is lower.

You say you don’t eat a lot of meat, and you’re really healthy diet-wise, and maybe you don’t spend enough time with yourself, and perhaps you’re antsy about your future, and all of that. Hell, you even say your relationship has changed because your guy’s not the same. That could do it right there.

Well, sexy comes from caring for ourselves and putting ourselves first – not relying on others’ perceptions of us. We need to exercise, take the time to make ourselves look nice, spend quality time alone, and show ourselves the respect we deserve. Somebody wanting us seems like it should make us feel sexy, but it just doesn’t work that way. We can’t rely on outward situations to provide us with our sexuality. It comes from within.

You’re obsessing about it because it’s something you can’t understand and can’t get to the bottom of. That’s not helping. That’s like guys who worry about whether they’re going to get hard and be able to perform – it exacerbates the problem. But how do you get out of your head?

Talk to someone, and by “someone,” I don’t mean some faceless chick half-way across the country, on the internet. I mean a doctor or therapist and see where it’s going.

The trouble is, not all doctors will see “not feeling sexy” as a medical issue. I think it is. I think you’ve got things going on in the background that are figuring into the equation. Worse, I think quitting the pills cold turkey has probably done quite the number on your hormones, the fall-out of which might take a little while longer to reset itself because you’re so young and hormones aren’t exactly on your side these days anyhow.

The long and the short of it is, this isn’t something you should be fucking around with on your own to solve. Talk to someone and see if there’s possibly something underlying that’s causing it. Spend some more time alone doing things you love, and make fitness a priority. Get sexy for you, not for him, and value how it feels for yourself, not because it’s rejuvenating your relationship.

As women, we tend to forget ourselves in relationships, and the effects of that (especially combined with estrogen upheavals like pill neglect) can be pretty profound on our self-images.

The thing is, we’re lied to. We’re told that getting into relationships is how to feel complete, how to become whole. A lot of the time, though, the relationships we choose are wrong for us, and the result is, the relationships make us less whole.

Sometimes it’s just life doing a number on us, and we want to blame our relationship so we don’t have to face life.

It’s complicated. Herbs and supplements and all that shit are likely not going to solve your conundrum. The IMPORTANT THING to remember is, it’ll work out. You’ll come back to yourself, you’re just taking the long way of doing so. And when things do come back to normalcy, remember, the best sex is still to come, ‘cos sex improves like all hell when you hit your late 20s and 30s, girlie.

Good luck with that. Anyone able to offer personal insight in this situation? Thanks.

"Mommy, what’s a blowjob?"

One of the all-time fave sex conversations I had with my mother transpired when I was about eight years old.

We were watching a video of Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” one day, and there was a joke about a blowjob. Mom howled with laughter, wiping tears from her eyes. She was a sucker for Steve. I didn’t get the joke. I furrowed my little blond brows and turned to scrutinize her.

“Mom, what’s a blowjob?”

“Hmm?”

“A blowjob, what is it?”

“Oh, that’s when a woman sucks on a man’s penis, dear.”

“Ew! Why would she want to do that?”

She shrugged and said, “Ah, you got me, sweetie. You got me.”

This casual dismissal of blowjobs made me think they were insane. “She sucks on his pee-pee?” was the thought running through my head. “How icky. EW.”

She rewound the segment, played the joke again, and this time I giggled, too, with a hint of revulsion.

I was more of a Fudgsicle girl way back when.