With every step, a sharp pain coursed through my lower abdomen. It felt like someone was stabbing me in my pelvis. I’d never felt anything like it. I wanted to stop. I wanted to sit. Preferably, in a hospital where a doctor could tell me what was going wrong with my body.
However, that was not an option.
I was hundreds of miles from home and struggling to make my way through a crowded airport to catch a flight I couldn’t afford to miss. I cried silent tears during the flight and hoped the stranger sitting next to me wouldn’t think I was insane. When I finally made it home I headed to the nearest urgent care center (it was cheaper than the ER). I explained my symptoms and the doctor explained that she needed to do a pelvic exam and pap smear to make sure everything was "okay" in that area. I tensed at the thought of being examined.
As I changed into the robe that was provided and placed my feet in the holders, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. I felt so exposed. But I knew it needed to be done. So, I closed my eyes and responded to the questions the doctor was using to distract me. It turned out I didn’t have cervical cancer or an STD but if I let my discomfort outweigh my doctor’s need to do the exam, I never would’ve known for sure.
Pap smears are used to take a sample of cells from the cervix to detect any abnormal cells that can lead to cancer. Pelvic exams are used to feel the size, shape, and location of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes and detect any growths or abnormalities.
Having these done yearly decreases the chance of cervical, uterine and ovarian diseases. It allows for the early detection of things like cervical cancer which can be deadly. They only take about 5 minutes but go a long way in preserving your health. Yet, many masculine people avoid getting these procedures. Some avoid it simple because they don’t think they need one. However, nobody with a cervix, uterus, or ovaries (regardless of gender identity or presentation) is exempt from needing to visit the gynecologist. Human papilloma virus (HPV), which is the leading cause of cervical cancer, can be contracted through skin-to-skin sexual contact. That means no matter what activity you’re engaging in, if your skin in the genital region is touching someone/being touched, you can get it.
You should have a yearly visit to the gynecologist from the age you become sexually active or the age of 18, whichever is first.
Not only can they do preventative measures like pap smears and pelvic exams, they are also best qualified to identify diseases and help with other concerns in the genital region such as pain or abnormal/heavy bleeding. Some masculine of center individuals may avoid the OB/GYN because of the discomfort they experience when anything is inserted, a fear of discrimination, or body dysmorphia that can accompany having certain body parts examined or discussed. These are valid concerns. Yet they may be overcome. Communication is key when working around or through the negative feelings you may have when visiting the OBGYN. Talk to the trans people you know and see if they recommend any practitioners they’ve had good experiences with. Also, communicate your needs to the practitioner you are seeing. Discuss your preferred pronoun use, what you are and are not comfortable with, and don’t be afraid to request adjustments. If you need more time to gather yourself before and after an exam, tell them. If you need them to be extra gentle, tell them. If you want to have your clothes on for as much of the visit as possible, tell them. Good doctors will accommodate your needs. In addition, you can Google “tips for providing paps to trans men”. The first link that comes up should be to a PDF that you can print and give to the person performing your pap or exam. This PDF will provide the medical professional with a guide to accommodating the needs of masculine women and trans men. If they respond well and do their best to provide trans-inclusive care go back yearly and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. The health of you and your community depend on it.
Damming the Flow: How to use Dental Dams and Keep Yourself Safe
We all have had that moment. You know the one where your eyes lock--before or after traveling the length of their bodies--and the attraction is instantaneous and intense. Just the thought of what you would do to them or them to you or both of you to each other (at the same time) sends chills down your spine. Every movement of their body turns you on and their words keep the electricity flowing. Eventually you seize the opportunity satiate every nerve ending that’s been craving their touch, taste and moans. As you lay in post-orgasmic bliss or dress to make your exit, you try to remember the last time you had some that was that damn good. Everything is great until you see one of those herpes medication commercials on TV, a friend has an STD scare, or your doctor asks if you’ve been having unprotected sex. Then, that encounter (and others) rushes back to you. But you used a condom on that strap and other toys so you’re good, right? Wrong. Because sex involving two females typically has a low HIV transmission rate we are often lulled into a false sense of security. However, other STIs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. That means you can catch a host of diseases from eating out that lovely lady you just couldn’t resist or rimming the stud you met at pride last year. That’s why dental dams are so important.
People often opt out of using these important little pieces of rubber. And many people suffer the consequences. Some of us just don’t know much about them. They are simply six-inch pieces of ultra-thin rubber that create a barrier between your mouth and the body part you’re pleasuring. Others assume it takes away from the fun of oral sex. But you know what really takes away from the fun of sex? Missing out on opportunities to have it because you are managing outbreaks or clearing up an infection. So, make plans to pick some up on your next condom run or trip to the sex shop and take mental notes of the simple steps below on how to correctly use a dental dam.
Step 1: Spread lube on the area you plan to lick or suck.
Step 2: Put the dam over the area and pull it taut (either the giver or receiver can do this). If you plan to suck an area release the tension a little.
Step 3: Enjoy!
See, it is just that simple. But before you head out and dive face-first into the next willing vagina and/or ass you can find, please remember that dental dams aren’t reusable, you should not flip them over, you need to use a different dam for each body part, and you shouldn’t flush them (plumbing issues aren’t sexy). Condoms and dental dams should only be used with water based lubricants; oil based lubes can break down latex and cause tears. If your partner is allergic to latex, don’t fret. Polyurethane versions are available.
Now that all of that is out of the way, go find some dental dams in your favorite color and flavor. And have a good time licking and sucking without fucking yourself by getting an STD!
The Lesbian Community (bisexual women included) is at just as much a risk contracting HIV and AIDS as anybody else. Don't let the media fool you or the aged old misconception that just because a dick is not involved (at that moment, you don't know what your woman does when you are not around) your safe from HIV/AIDS. But don't just take DIN's word for it. After weeks of research we were able to put together some little known facts that will hopefully encourage more of you to practice safe-sex.
According to a city wide survey taken in San Francisco:
Young lesbians often experiment sexually with their gay male friends.
*A 1996 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that 81% of lesbians and bisexual women in San Francisco reported sex with men in the past three years.
Of those women, 39% reported unprotected vaginal sex.
11% reported unprotected anal sex. A study of lesbian and bisexual women in 16 small cities in the US found that 39% reported sex with gay/bisexual men. *
Young lesbians engaged in high rates of alcohol and drug use..
..as a way of coping with homophobia and societal pressures. This act makes them more able to engage in unprotected sex with various partners.
Lesbians who have HIV may not be honest
...and rarely use protection. This act in itself increases the HIV possibility rate to five times that of a straight woman who sleep with Down-Low men.
This is a risk that everyone faces regardless of their sexual orientation but it still needed to be mentioned because your partner may or may not be honest with you and not every case of AIDS/HIV (or STDs) is recorded.
You can transmit HIV/AIDS (and STDs) by improperly cleaning your toy.
First and foremost you should know the material of your strap! (See "KNOW YOUR STRAP"). Second, depending on what type of strap you have, the material may hold onto bacteria. According to Selfhelp Magazine, the first suspected case of transmission from one woman to another was in 1984. Other cases soon followed in 1986, 1987 and 1993. In 2003 a 20-year-old African American lesbian from Philadelphia contracted HIV from her female partner. More than likely she was infected from the use of sex toys, "used vigorously enough to cause exchange of blood-tinged body fluids," according to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. This young woman had no other risk factors: she did not use intravenous drugs, had never had sex with a man, never had a blood transfusion, had no tattoos or piercings and only had sex with her partner for the previous two years.
Lesbians with HIV/AIDS In 1992 the Lesbian AIDS project was started in New York City. It started with a caseload of 30 women and by the end of two years had jumped to 400 HIV positive lesbians. Currently the Lesbian AIDS project serves more than 1,000 HIV positive lesbians. These are the known cases of lesbians with HIV or AIDS. Other studies have shown that there is reason to believe lesbians may be at a higher risk than the Lesbian Aids Project is willing to admit.
SO WRAP IT UP! Nobody is fine enough to risk your life!
If you like it then you should put Dental Dam on it!