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How can we avoid condom breakage?

We like using condoms, but every once in a while they break. Recently, they’ve been breaking every other time we use them, and it’s beginning to scare me. Should we be getting stronger condoms? Is there any way to decrease the chances that our condom will break?

First, any intact condom is a good condom. Most condom breakages happen because the people using them (from both sides) have not used enough lubricant. Even condoms packaged with lubricant need additional water-based lubricant applied to them so that they will not develop small or large tears during use.

If a man is wearing the condom, try putting a small amount of water-based lube on the head of his penis, then rolling the condom onto the shaft. Apply more lube to the outside of the condom (or to the receiver) and you will find that the sensation is greatly increased, and your chances of the condom breaking are lower. Playing with extra lubricant can bring major pleasure, and safety, to your sex life!

Other tips:

  • Find out whether the condoms you are using are made of latex or polyurethane.
    • Polyurethane condoms (including the female condom) are thinner condoms made from a plastic, and are suggested for those people with latex allergies. Heat and texture transfer right through polyurethane, making them high-pleasure favorites. However, their thinness means they you’ll need extra lubricant when using them. Also, they can slide off of the penis, so have a cock ring handy to keep ’em right where you want ’em.
    • For latex condoms, the second major cause of condom breakage is using an oil-based product (Vaseline, massage oil, cooking oil, etc.). Oil dissolves the latex structure, and leads to condom breakage in as little as 30 seconds! If you’ve recently changed your habits to include an oil-based lubricant (or a moisturizing body soap, or you slather oil-based lotion on your skin after shaving), this could be the source of your troubles.
  • Check the expiration date on your condom package. Condoms have a useable time of two years from manufacture.
  • Keep your condom supply out of excessive heat or cold. Both of these temperature extremes lower the time use.
  • Store your condoms in a place without sun or artificial light: light weakens the condom material, and lowers its shelf-life.

p.s. and throw out any spermicidal condoms that you still have–spermicides are not safe for penetration.

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Sex and Pregnancy

Click here for a pdf brochure about Sex & Pregnancy.

I’ve just gotten pregnant again (whew!), and my partner is very worried about sexual activity during this pregnancy. Is sex okay during pregnancy, and is there anything I/we should watch out for?

Congratulations! Generally speaking, sexual activity is okay during “normal” pregnancy, as long as your health care provider hasn’t advised against it. Here are some ways to think about your specific situation.

  1. General Considerations:
    • Vaginal penetration is fine during pregnancy, although deep penetration might feel uncomfortable during the last 2-3 months because of the growth of the pregnancy. Some pregnant women particularly enjoy sexual arousal with penetration since the blood can pool more easily with the uterus pressing on the outgoing flow veins. This causes increased sensation and increased lubrication.
    • Some extra care in washing the part doing the penetrating is important so as not to introduce infections, or upset the bacterial/yeast balance. Vaginal penetration with penises, dildos and fingers is okay, but fingernails may need more trimming so as not to cause tears or abrasions which can lead to infections. Make sure anything that enters the vagina during pregnancy is clean – hands washed with soapy warm water; dildos and vibrators washed with soapy warm water and/or covered with a fresh condom.
    • If vaginal delivery is a consideration, some women and health care providers feel strongly that regular hand-vulva massage, with particular attention to the perineium (skin between the vaginal opening and the anus) is highly beneficial to enhance the flexibility and durability of the skin and underlying muscles. To make this massage even more effective, incorporate a moisturizing lubricant like Liquid Silk.
    • Water based lubricants are fine to use during pregnancy. Some women like to use Liquid Silk for vulva massage because it both lubricates the skin and decreases the friction of sex. Also, the pregnancy may make you more prone to yeast infections, and non-glycerin lubricants can help you avoid them by not feeding the yeast.
  2. Cautions:
    • Orgasms do need to be monitored (and discussed with your health care practitioner) in women whose pregnancies are at moderate or high risk due to cervical insufficiency (risk of pre-term labor), or in women who are having difficulty controlling blood pressure. Other medical conditions can also warrant holding off on orgasms too, so if you think this applies to you, please ask your health professional some questions.
    • Oral sex is fine, but don’t have your partner blow air into the vaginal space. It can cause something called “air embolisms” which can be very dangerous to the mother.
    • Anal sex with shallow penetration (because the uterus has moved into the way) is okay, but let comfort be your guide. If anything hurts or is uncomfortable, stop. All of the other “guidelines” for anal sex apply as well (no oils, use latex and water-based lube, don’t spread fluids into the vagina from the anus, etc.).
    • Flogging, increased pressure on the belly of the pregnancy (someone lying on top of you, for example), and any type of bondage of the belly is definitely a risk to the woman and the pregnancy. While other body parts can still enjoy these behaviors, it’s best to stay away from the abdomen all together. (Even bondage on the wrists and ankles is often uncomfortable – in a bad way – because of the common increase in fluid under the skin. Your body may be more sensitive to behaviors that you usually enjoy with abandon.)
    • Be kind to your cervix. It is the muscular gateway that helps hold the pregnancy in position until it’s time to be delivered. It also has developed a “mucus” plug to reduce the transmission of fluids into the uterus. Deep thrusting, fingernail cuts, vaginal fisting, and repetitive pressure are all relatively unhealthy for the “pregnant” cervix, and can dislodge the plug. So, be kind to it, and let it do its new job safely.
    • Recognize that orgasmic contractions can promote labor late in the pregnancy, particularly in women at risk of pre-term labor. If you’ve been asked to stay on your back (to reduce the risk of labor), orgasms are something you may want to hold off on. Ask your health care professional.
  3. Specific things to do:
    • Get a complete screening for sexually transmitted infections. Cure the ones that you can cure. Sexually transmitted infections such as trichomonas, syphilis, HIV, Herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea can have major negative impacts on the health of the pregnancy.
    • Make sure your partner(s) get screening for sexually transmitted infections! (It doesn’t help if you get screened, if someone else wasn’t and gives you an infection.)
    • Along with all of your reading for the baby, consider how you are going to explain sex, sexuality, and human bodies to her/him(s). Sure, you have a few years to think about it, but it gives you something else to ponder while you’re waiting. 🙂 There are also lots of great books about sex for moms, to help you prepare for your love life after this pregnancy. Now’s a good time to read up!
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Conception and Sexual Lubricants

My partner and I are trying to become pregnant, but we struggle with vaginal dryness. Is one lubricant better than another, or should we use anything at all? Do you know anything about a product called Pre~seed? Help!

Infertility (the inability to become pregnant) is due to sperm-related (male) problems about 33% of the time. More than half of couples trying to conceive also deal with the usual problems of skin & vaginal dryness, and logically turn to sexual lubricants or saliva to solve that problem. Choosing a compatible lubricant is important, because scientific research is shows that many sexual lubricants impair not only the movement, but also the survival of sperm.

The most important features of sperm fertility success are staying alive and retaining mobility around. For this they’ll need:

  • a basic pH environment (or in gardening lingo, lime [basic] not sweet [acidic]),
  • a moderate amount of food (glucose is preferred over fruit sugars),
  • the perfect amount of salts (aka osmolality),
  • a liquid-y swimming fluid, aka semen (too dry makes it too sticky, and too concentrated makes the semen toxic),
  • no alcohol (dissolves their membranes),
  • and should we say, a little bit of lovin’?

Commonly available sexual lubricants such as KY, Astroglide, & Replens have all been shown to stop sperm in their tracks, and kill sperm after an hour’s time in the pool. Even that natural stand-by, saliva, decreases sperm movement and progression.

So what’s a couple to do?

  1. Increase your arousal before penetration. Vaginal lubrication is increased when a woman is highly aroused, because arousal is the process of bringing blood and fluid to the genitals. Watching erotic movies together, masturbating to orgasm before penetration, and gee, having fun with intimacy can go quite a way toward improving the vaginal moisture of many women. I know trying to get pregnant can seem like a chore, especially after you’ve been trying for a while, but maybe you need to look at sexual arousal as a goal, rather than seeing penetration-just-to-get-pregnant as your goal.
  2. Prolonged sexual arousal improves the fertility characteristics of men’s sperm as well! Semen (sperm + carrying fluid from the epididymis, prostate & seminal vesicles) is enhanced with 3-day periods of abstinence (no ejaculation), followed by a prolonged sexual arousal and multiple ejaculations. (In terms of animal husbandry, the second and third (!) ejaculate is far more “fertile” than the first.) So as your partner is nearing her egg-releasing time (ovulation), hold off on ejaculation for 3 days, then plan a day-long tantric sex extravaganza! (Yes, you might have to take a day off work, but this seems like nice homework.)
  3. Men! Eat your fruits, vegetables and nuts! It is no coincidence that avocados and strawberries are considered aphrodisiacs: they contain some fine antioxidants which help preserve the sperm and semen from toxic substances. Sperm are very sensitive to something called “oxidative stress”, and anti-oxidants in the diet have a relationship to the amount of protection they can provide in semen. Chocolate is your friend.
  4. I’m sorry to say that you might not want to exercise heavily during your three days of abstinence, although cold showers are okay. Some animal studies suggest that seminal oxidative stress increases in proportion to the amount of exercise the animal performs. So low-to-moderate exercise might be best to support your semen.

But Doctor, I still have a lubrication issue!

Your two best options seem to be using very small amounts of:

  1. FeMani Lubricant
  2. Uberlube

Some of our conception-focused customers have also had good luck with using very small amounts of silicone-based lubricants, such as FeManiLubricant or Uberlube, although I have not seen research studies specifically addressing these products. We do know that silicone-coated catheters used to collect semen for insemination from men with spinal cord injuries had a minimal effect on the motility and survival of sperm.

We also know that stable medium-to-long chain oils such as canola or mineral oil have no effect on sperm viability or motility. (Olive oil, like saliva, even in low concentrations, decreases sperm movement.) However, oils are not a good choice for many women, since the vaginal space doesn’t clear oils very easily.

Finally, how you apply the lubricant might also be important: Most people struggle with dryness at the vaginal opening and on the vulva, as well as dryness along the penis shaft. Applying a very light layer of silicone lube on the shaft of the penis and/or on the vulva and opening of the vagina will give you lubricant where you need it most, and avoid the area near the cervix where semen will be deposited to begin their journey up through the uterus. This massage could certainly fit into the prolonged tantric sex session I suggested above.

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Vaginal dryness after delivery

Since I gave birth, I have been experiencing vaginal dryness with penetration. Is this normal?

Vaginal lubrication is often an issue for women postpartum (after delivery), especially for women who have chosen to breastfeed. While not such an issue during pregnancy because of the increased fluids in your body, after delivery many women notice a distinct change in vaginal/vulvar moisture. This happens because of post-pregnancy hormone changes, which can take months to normalize. Breastfeeding can make vagnial dryness more extreme, because of the special hormonal state required to produce breast milk. There are several solutions to consider:

  1. Your sensitive genital skin needs some extra care, particularly if you delivered your pregnancy vaginally. The skin was stretched maximally during delivery, and needs time to recover. To help maintain the moisture in your vulva, use a moisturizing lubricant such as Liquid Silk or Pink Indulgence daily. Rub a small amount on the lips of your vulva. The beauty of  a moisturizing lubricant is that it will slowly soak into your skin and trap moisture which helps the skin to heal.
  2. Some women do a brief moisturizing genital massage right before they go to sleep at night. That way their tissues do the healing during sleep. Other women invite their partners to do the gentle genital massage, which makes for some nice connection time, even though she may not yet be ready for sexual penetration.
  3. Supplement your natural secretions with a water-based or silicone lubricant for any kind of sex play. Lubrication helps reduce the friction on your tender skin, while allowing you the pleasure of penetration. Some women recommend lubricants with aloe gel, since aloe also aids in skin healing.
  4. Arouse yourself sexually to a lathered state before attempting vaginal or anal penetration. Some women find that having an orgasm prior to penetration draws moisture to the genitals, and adds a nice spark to the beginning of their sex play.
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Pain of the perineum

Can I heal my perineum damaged during delivery? How long will this take to feel normal again during sex?

Many women experience damage to the perineum (the area between the vulva and the anus) as a natural part of delivery because the perineum must stretch 2-4 times its usual size to allow the pregnancy to pass by. Some tearing of skin, muscles and connective tissue can occur, and is most likely to occur during subsequent pregnancies, or deliveries that happen really quickly. Scar tissue develops as a part of the healing process, and needs gentle massage to re-shape and regain flexibility.

The perineum of the vulva is particularly important for comfortable vaginal penetration, because of the physical structure of the vulva and underlying tissues. During vaginal penetration, the perineal area has the most potential flexibility because there is no bone structure preventing comfortable expansion/relaxation. Therefore, gently bringing your perineum back to flexible health is an important part of your sexual future.

Here are some helpful techniques to heal your perineum right after delivery:

  1. Apply ice packs for the first 24 hours after delivery to reduce swelling, then switch to daily sitz baths with warm water. Some midwives and holistic practitioners recommend the addition of certain herbs to these baths. Check with a practitioner you trust for a recipe.
  2. After bathing, let your perineum air dry and, if possible, expose it to sunlight.
  3. After any bleeding has stopped, use only soft cotton underwear. If the seams of the undies chafe, wear the panty inside out. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself with a new 6 pack of undies–you’ll want to change them often. Others avoid wearing underwear all together in combination with a skirt. This helps avoid trapping excess moisture against the skin while healing is taking place.
  4. For those experiencing pain from urine splashing against the perineum, a light application of zinc oxide (ex. Desitin, or generic) helps shorten the healing time, and keeps urine from causing the burning sensation.
  5. If your perineum has not healed within six weeks, make sure to notify your health care practitioner.

After it has healed, gently massage your perineum to soften any remaining scar tissue. Using a moisturizing water-based lubricant like Oasis Silk, Sliquid Organics, or Pjur Med Repair Glide, you or a partner can insert one lubricated finger just inside the vaginal canal and gently roll the perineal tissues between thumb and forefinger. Your goal is to gently re-form the scar tissue so that it can be more flexible, as well as circulate more fluids through the perineum to further enhance healing. Some women prefer to perform this massage nightly, which helps to moisturize the tissues while you sleep.

Be prepared to heal yourself before being intimate with your partner. If you are feeling pain with penetration, or you just don’t feel physically comfortable with penetration, hold off on being penetrated. Pain and discomfort are telling you that your tissues are not fully healed and flexible after delivery, and if you damage the skin again, it will take just that much longer to heal.

Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing continued problems after trying some of these suggestions. Your continued sexual health is as important as ever after the delivery.

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Too loose after delivery?

I’ve heard rumors about women losing vaginal tone and becoming loose after childbirth. Is that true?

Some skin and pelvic floor tone is lost during pregnancy and childbirth because the weight of the pregnancy and the compression of internal organs stretches out the pelvic floor. If the woman does not have good pelvic floor strength before becoming pregnant, the process of pregnancy is more likely to stretch weaker muscles.

Strength loss is also exaggerated if the woman stands all day long during her pregnancy (think hairdresser, for example). The steady downward pressure puts a constant strain on the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor, and leaves her with a whopper backache, besides.

The good news: it is possible to gain most or all of the pelvic floor strength back.

  1. Breastfeeding releases a hormone called “oxytocin”, which naturally restores some of the tone of the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments.
  2. Pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) will specifically strengthen the muscles.
    • Always begin practicing your pelvic floor exercises while lying on your back. These muscles are weaker now, and taking the abdominal pressure off helps to feel them again.
    • Concentrate on regaining the conscious contraction of your pelvic floor muscles, and make sure that you contract the muscles in the front (near your urethra), as well as the muscles deep in your vaginal space, all the way back to your tail bone. I like to think of zipping up a zipper, slowly from front to back, holding for 2 secs then relaxing the entire zipper, followed by a deep breath.
    • Focus on long, slow contractions of about 10-12 seconds total. Fast isn’t good here: strength of the pelvic floor is much more about your ability to hold strong, long contractions, than tightening your muscle groups quickly. (Keep the quickie idea for some other activity.)
    • Gradually work up to 20 long-strong contractions in the morning, and another 20 at night, but don’t push too fast. You want to think of strengthening the muscles, not fatiguing them by feeling the burn. Go to the number that you can complete fully, with strength. If you can do that for 2 days in a row, then add one more contraction/relaxation.
    • Remember, you aren’t pushing out, you’re pulling in. If you find yourself pushing/bearing down and/or holding your breath, you might benefit from a biofeedback tool to help you exercise these muscles correctly.
  3. Also, consider that orgasmic contractions of the pelvic floor are revitalizing! Because the floor muscles naturally stretch while carrying a pregnancy, your early postpartum orgasms may feel less intense. When you’re ready, regular orgasms are one of the best ways to increase the strength and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles.

If you’re losing any urine with coughing, laughing, etc, this is related to the weakness of your pelvic floor, and will lessen as your muscles strengthen. Remember to empty your bladder more often than you used to, and always empty your bladder before practicing your Kegel exercises. The pressure of urine won’t help you to contract your pelvic floor muscles.

With focused attention, you can significantly strengthen your pelvic floor again. If you need some biofeedback tools, consider the Exercise Egg or the Energie Exerciser. Both of these products give you more information about exactly which muscles you’re working on, making it easier and more effective to regain strength.

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Low Libido after Delivery

Since delivery, I have had very little interest in sex.

It is not at all uncommon for new parents to experience a drop in libido. If you experienced a difficult delivery, especially a Cesarean birth, you may still be physically recuperating. Any delivery can cause bleeding, and recovery can be slow as you your body rebounds. Additionally, the hormonal shifts taking place in your body, lack of sleep, and changing roles and expectations in your life can quickly put sex on the back burner. Also, the closeness you share with your baby may leave you feeling “touched out.” (“…Well, no wonder!…”)

Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Healing puts extra demands on your body, so getting adequate sleep, and spiffing up your diet to include high-quality protein sources and fruits and vegetables with plenty of antioxidants can be very rejeuvinating. Keep up on your fluids. Consider taking, or continue to take a multi-vitamin supplement. Easy does it.

Depression can also inhibit libido. The “baby blues,” a common condition including sadness, crying, and mood swings, should abate a few weeks postpartum. If you find that you are experiencing these or other distressing symptoms for a longer period of time, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Contact your healthcare provider, who will be able to assess your condition and help you get the proper treatment.

But I’m worried my partner is getting sexually frustrated.

It is extremely important to communicate with your partner around issues of sexuality. Do not take for granted that your expectations and needs match. Your partner may feel a bit left out of the new bond that you and your child have formed, and a lack of sexual intimacy can add to that feeling. If you do not wish to be sexual, make sure that your partner understands why and feels reassured and loved. Try to be understanding if your partner seeks sexual outlet in masturbation or the use of erotic literature, movies, or magazines. You may even wish to use some of these things together. You never know–your support could turn into arousal.

It’s also important that your needs get met. Communicate your desires and concerns to your partner and ask for the support and reassurance that you need. Understanding each others’ expectations can also help to take some of the pressure off. For instance, you may be avoiding intimacy because you are not interested in having penetrative sex, while your partner may be quite willing to experience other kinds of closeness, like kissing and touching.

Now more than ever, your sex life will take effort to maintain. It may be necessary to plan sexual intimacy. Baby’s naptime is a good time to get close. And don’t pass up those offers of help from friends and family–they might love to spend an afternoon with baby, and it may just give you the perfect chance to reconnect. Remember, just because you’ve planned to have sex doesn’t mean sex itself can’t be spontaneous! You may wish to involve games or toys to bring a sense of playfulness to sex. Sometimes non-genital forms of intimacy can be ideal. Exchanging massages, cuddling, and making out can be low-pressure ways to feel close.

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Painful Scrotum & Epididymitis

In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed blood streaks in my ejaculate. My testicles are a bit tender because I’ve had to wear a support/crotch harness at work (to prevent a fall), and it feels pretty uncomfortable to wear. Could I be doing any damage? Is there something I should do?

This sounds like a case of epididymitis.

Most men never notice the epididymus (pronounced “ep-e-DIh-deh-mus”) unless they have a problem with it, so don’t be surprised to learn you have one behind each testicle. Sperm are manufactured in the testicles all throughout a man’s life. When the sperm are ready to mature, they wait in the epididymis. When ejaculation occurs, the epididymis and spermatic tube contract, and force the sperm up from the scrotum, through the prostate (collecting food) and urethra, on the way out of the body.

Semen, which is a combination of sperms and prostate fluid, is usually whitish or light gray, and when healthy, a man’s semen should never have blood or yellowish fluid (pus). Most ejaculate volumes are about 1 TSP or so, and it is possible not to notice a change in color.

Problems with the epididymis

There are two main reasons for problems with the epididymis.

  1. Infection
    • Bacteria infecting the bladder can travel backwards down the spermatic duct and infect the small organ. Usually the infectious agents are E. coli or Klebsiella sp, and the person might experience fever, chills, scrotal pain, painful urination and blood in semen.
    • Infections acquired during sexual activity can also travel down the spermatic duct. The most common infections are Chlamydia and/or N. gonorrhea. While many men can be infected with these agents and have no symptoms, if the epididymis is involved there is often testicular pain and swelling of the scrotum.
  2. Mechanical Trauma
    • Men who experience prolonged compression of the epididymis/scrotum, or repeated abdominal straining (lifting, or difficult bowel movements) can force otherwise normal urine back through the spermatic ducts. The urine is chemically irritating to the epididymis, and can cause inflammation even though there is no infection present.
    • Post-surgical complications involving manipulation of the spermatic duct can cause a non-infectious inflammation of the epididymis.

The blood in your semen could be due to mechanical compression and epididymal irritation/inflammation from the harness you’ve been wearing (mechanical trauma to the scrotum), since it sounds from your description that the fall-prevention harness has applied a tight pressure against your scrotum. It is also possible that if you are doing heavy lifting/straining, urine might be pressurized backwards into your epididymis, causing a chemical irritation.

You need to be evaulated by a health professional and undergo a complete examination including a scrotal and prostate exam. From there, they can determine whether there is an infection (and where) and further therapies (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, ice packs and elevation of the pelvis above heart level–lying down on a slanted surface) need to be pursued.

Don’t put an evaluation off. It is much easier to remedy when problems are caught early, and abcess formation or infertility are possible complications if you ignore it. Also, see whether there is another type of harness available to you that can protect you from a fall and still allow less constriction of your genital area. Rock climbing harnesses, for example, can be worn all day and allow much more room and comfort for your genitals.

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Ejaculation and Prostate Cancer

I heard that if a someone ejaculates on a regular basis it can help prevent prostate cancer. Is this true? 

The seminal fluid that results in ejaculate comes from (er, is derived from) four independent sources:

  • The potential urethral pathway of the semen is prepared by the “pre cum” fluid which is chock full of minerals and raises the pH to about the level of dilute lye (very alkaline). The fluid is secreted from the Cowper’s Glands, aka the bulbourethral glands.
  • The little spermies are released from epididymis school where they matured, and are squished propulsively up the sperm duct (vas deferens) all the way around the bladder and back to join the fluid of the…
  • Seminal vesicles (male convents of sperm food), the producers of sugars to feed the sperm.So far, well and good. We only have one more to go, and what’s the problem?
  • Well, the problem is the fluid of the Prostate gland. Turns out, in order for sperm to survive the (literally) dangerous acid-based, lactobacilli-laced, vaginal lubrication-full vaginal space, on through the cervix, up through the uterus, and around the tubes to the egg, (*WHEW*) some of the impediments need to be whacked out.

This is a sperm’s perspective, mind you. From their point of view, they have a “one-in-a-million” chance to get through the dense jungle undergrowth of Vaginal Brazil, to make it to the fountain of youth. I’m sure Pizarro used something sharp and caustic to whack through the vegetation, and prostate fluid is just that weapon for the sperm.

Unlike all of the other components, prostate fluid contains some serious enzymes that clip proteins apart: mucus proteins, bacterial shell proteins, etc. Hai-Yah!

Now, let’s leave the jungle for just a moment, and travel back to the Temple of Doom: an unejaculated prostate. What’s a prostate going to do with this samurai enzyme stuff…Sell it as a WMD? Make fermented cheese? Clean graffiti off walls (Whew… that took a weird turn I don’t want to think about…)?

All healthy cells rely on the proper functioning of their DNA genetic material to direct their proper life cycle. When DNA is clipped, the cell loses its map, and can become cancerous. What’s DNA made of?

Protein. What does the prostatic fluid clip up? Protein. So prostatic fluid that just sits, and sits and sits, eventually can dissolve part of its own cellular wall and DNA, causing it to become cancerous.

This is why we don’t hear of other types of cancer of the urogenital system: the two most common are bladder cancer and prostate cancer. Although rare cases of seminal vesicle cancer, urethral cancer, etc. can (and do) happen, the bladder holds toxins (dyes, tobacco residue, etc.) and the prostate holds its own fluid which are both negatively transformative in terms of cancerous transformation.

Therefore, I often lecture to men that even if they aren’t “interested” in being sexual, that they have a reason to ejaculate weekly (once a week is just fine). That helps to wash prostatic fluid through the prostate on a routine basis, and helps to protect their prostate. This is not dependent on a partner. They need to take care of their own sexual health issues.

It is obviously a mistake to keep things in the Temple of Doom for prolonged periods, and best to use one’s assets productively (cutting through jungle underbrush), lest they turn against you.

As for your second question. Cis-women’s paraurethral fluid (“G-spot fluid”) is consistent with the enzymatic fluid of the prostate. However, the glands are much more spread out along the length of the urethra, are very shallow and therefore easily expressed. All types of people get prostate cancer, however it is very, very rare by comparison to cis-male counterparts. (And, yes, all people get breast cancer, and it is often very difficult to speak about and very hard to treat/cure.)

So, I would dispute the same need for prostate fluid expulsion in other people. I would say that one orgasm per week is necessary for sufficient sexual health maintenance to keep the nerve cells buzzin’ properly.

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Why not use spermicidal condoms?

I would like to know more about the use of spermicidal condoms. What are the health implications of using one, and what are the alternatives?

We recommend that people who use condoms for sexual intimacy do not use condoms with spermicide. There are several reasons for this.

1. First, spermicides are chemical detergents. Nonoxynol-9, the most commonly used spermicide, helps to prevent pregnancy by dissolving the fatty tip of sperm and breaking their “skin”. Since sperm need to keep their contents (mostly DNA) inside before they engage with an egg, this keeps fertilization from occurring.

If the spermicide only came into contact with sperm, we’d have few problems. But consider that spermicide contacts the vaginal (or anal) skin tissue as well. Detergents partially “dissolve” skin cells, which have many oils in their membranes. These damaged cells can break down, causing small tears and friction irritation that can be very uncomfortable for the person being penetrated. Many people who believe themselves to be “allergic” to latex condoms have actually experienced a skin sensitivity to the spermicide on the condom (or they were using the condom with too little extra lubricant applied).

2. Also, spermicides taste terrible. Anyone who has accidentally gotten a bit of dish washing detergent in their mouth knows this is an unpleasant sensation and taste. Oral sex on a man (mouth-to-penis contact) or a woman (mouth-to-vulva contact) is safest with a condom or other barrier (for contact with a woman, the condom can be split open length-wise for coverage). Flavored sex sheets, flavored condoms, or even plain external condoms with tasty lubes are much more pleasurable experiences for the “taster” and for the “tastee” than barriers with spermicide. So, if you want more oral sex performed on you, provide your willing partner with barriers that taste good.

3. The third major reason not to use spermicides is recent research that suggests that spermicides such as nonoxynol-9 may INCREASE the transmission of HIV.

While it has been observed that HIV exposed to nonoxynol-9 in a test tube is less able to cause infections, the scientific world hasn’t known whether using spermicide would reduce HIV transmission in the “real world”. Unfortunately, when female commercial sex workers agreed to use either a placebo gel or a spermicidal gel (they didn’t know which they were using) before they had sex with condoms, more of the women who used the spermicide contracted HIV. When the women used only the spermicidal gel (without condoms, their choice), their rates of contracting HIV were even higher. The study also showed that women who used the spermicidal gel had more vaginal lesions than those who used condoms and lube alone, which suggests that the spermicide damaged their vaginal walls.

This is not what anyone had expected to happen (the participants or the researchers). Even if you discount the study because commercial sex workers have more sexual intimacy than women who are not sex workers, this study showed that nonoxynol-9 “has been proven ineffective against (preventing) HIV transmission…” and “…that nonoxynol-9 should not be recommended as an effective means of HIV prevention….

What does this mean for those who want to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted infections (and possibly pregnancy)?

Fresh condoms that stay intact during intimacy are the best protection from sexually transmitted infections. If you are using condoms, the condom itself is your best protection.

Keep your condoms from breaking by adding a dollop of lubricant to the outside of the condom shaft, to reduce friction and increase pleasure for the person being penetrated.

Also, add a dime-sized drop of lubricant inside the tip of the condom. This dramatically adds to the pleasure of the person wearing the condom, because it allows the condom to slip and rub against the sensitive nerve endings at the tip of the penis. Many men who try this for the first time, report back that they can’t believe that someone didn’t tell them this years ago. It’s a lot easier to wear a condom when it feels good to the wearer.

Another option to increase pleasure and reduce your exposure to spermicides is to use the female condom. Men and women enjoy the silky sensation, reduced vaginal friction, and absence of nonoxynol-9.

Keep in mind also that many “toy cleaner” products contain nonoxynol-9 as a main ingredient. All you need to effectively clean most of your toys is soap and warm water. Steer clear of specialty toy cleaners and instead grab yourself a bottle of fragrance-free, dye-free soap!