Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Passing the torch

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 11:56 AM

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NUVO would like to offer our gratitude for the work done by Dr. Debby Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute and Sarah Murrell for the terrific column we've featured called "Ask the Sex Doc."

Alas, with the turn of the calendar comes change, and everything eventually ends. (Except for True Love, which will exist forever as long as someone has a print of The Princess Bride lying around.)

Now the good news: we've got a new (to us) sexpert, Dan Savage. Dan, who's been at this game for two decades is smart, funny, entertaining and gave a candidate named "Santorum" more trouble than the dude could have bargained for. (Google "Santorum" if you don't know what we're talking about.)

You can find Dan's work here, nuvo.net/SavageLove
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Saturday, December 19, 2015

On the other hand, SHARK!

Posted By on Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 3:00 PM

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Are there any health risks associated with having sex in lakes or more stagnant bodies of water besides the ocean?


Debby: Except for extremely unusual, bad luck scenarios (in which case people wind up with rare infections even from swimming in water), it’s generally fine to have sex in lakes, oceans, bathtubs, and rivers. Avoid anything that looks gross to you or just doesn’t feel right. All that said, no one said it would be easy if by “sex” you mean vaginal or anal intercourse. Although the vagina lubricates on its own, that lubricant pretty much just washes away with water, making vaginal penetration with a penis pretty tricky and often uncomfortable or painful. The anus doesn’t self-lubricate anyway, but may dry up even more underwater. Most people don’t carry silicone-based lubricant with them into lakes or oceans, so that’s unlikely to help. You can still try it if you want — sometimes experiences of trying and feeling ridiculous help to bond two people. You can also widen your ideas of sex and use your fingers to pleasure one another underwater.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Menage a caution

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM

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My husband and I had been discussing having a threesome, which I agreed to on the condition that we would hire an escort to join us so I wouldn’t have to ask someone I know. Now, my question to you is if there’s any way to tell for sure that a sex worker doesn’t have an STD? Thank you.

Debby: Sorry, no, there’s not. Some sexually transmitted infections (STI) are not easily tested for — for example, we have no widely available testing (outside of research settings) for HPV in men or mycoplasma genitalium for people of any gender (yeah, I know - most people have never heard of m. genitalium but it’s a thing). Other STIs (like HIV) can hang out for a while before a person would test positive for them. If you’re concerned about STIs, either steer clear of bringing in an outside partner or only engage in sex acts that are less likely to transmit infections or use a condom, knowing that it would greatly reduce the risk of many but not all STIs. You might also want to read a book like Opening Up or The Ethical Slut to help you and your husband communicate and manage all the other things involved in opening up one’s monogamous relationship to include others.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Indiana getaway

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 8:45 PM

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What’s the most recommended romantic resort in Indy or Bloomington? We’re looking to get away.

Debby: Bloomington doesn’t exactly have “resorts” in the downtown or nearby-ish areas although we do have some lovely B&Bs (like the Grant Street Inn) and newer hotels (like the Hyatt Place). In Indianapolis, searching Trip Advisor for hotels tagged as “romantic” brings up hotels like the Conrad, Le Meridien, the JW Marriott, and the Alexander. However, there are rarely any “best” places because I think it depends on what helps you and your partner(s) feel more romantic. As a colleague said to me years ago, “some people like their sex dirty” and if you want things on the rougher side, you might look for cheap motels. If you’re more the rose petals and jacuzzi type, that too will influence what kind of hotel you look for. Some people are looking for a total experience and might want to see a show or walk through a downtown park and then wind their way back to their hotel, in which case you might prefer something downtown and walkable. If you’re an IU alum and looking to relive your college days, you might prefer drinking downtown and then stumbling over to the IMU. As they say: choose your own adventure.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Watch your meds

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 1:29 PM

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The Doc’s flying solo this week. Dr. Debby Herbenick — our resident sexpert from Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute answers your questions about vibes, meds and working out, and how all of those things can affect your sex life. 


Watch your meds


I’m really nervous about going on anti-depressants. I know they would help me a lot, but I really, really don’t want to have to deal with a lowered sex drive or orgasm inhibition. Is there anything you can recommend that will help my depression symptoms without hurting my sex life?


Debby: Yes! An open and honest conversation with your healthcare provider. Not all anti-depressants have negative sexual side effects. Some anti-depressants don’t have this effect so I’d recommend talking with your healthcare provider about your mood issues and your desire for treatment that won’t get in the way of your sex life. This is a common enough request and one you can talk through with your doctor or nurse to see if they can find a medication that fits the bill. 
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Java junkie

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 11:22 AM

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The Doc’s flying solo this week. Dr. Debby Herbenick — our resident sexpert from Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute answers your questions about vibes, meds and working out, and how all of those things can affect your sex life.

Java junkie

Sometimes when I drink too much coffee, I end up getting crazy horny for some reason. Is there something we should know about coffee?


Debby: In the many years I’ve worked in sex education and research, I’ve heard all kinds of anecdotal stories about caffeine and sex but none of them point to any consistent relationship. Some people swear they have better sex, more energy for sex, and/or easier orgasms after they quit drinking coffee. On the flip side, other women have told me that when they have to pee very badly (sometimes aided by drinking coffee or beer) they have easier orgasms. Others say that a full bladder makes it more difficult for them to experience orgasm. There’s no rhyme or reason except to pay attention to your own body and sexual response. 
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Rabbit habit

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:45 PM

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The Doc’s flying solo this week. Dr. Debby Herbenick — our resident sexpert from Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute answers your questions about vibes, meds and working out, and how all of those things can affect your sex life. We'll start with ...

Is the Rabbit vibe really all it’s cracked up to be?

Debby: Not as far as I’m concerned, but other responses is legit too. Some people love using Rabbit-like toys for masturbation or partner play. Others (even people who otherwise enjoy vaginal stimulation) think they’re pretty meh. That’s the thing about sex and sex toys — what pleases one person turns another person off. There’s also no such thing as “the Rabbit vibe” in the sense that there are many iterations of a similar product but not one standard. Usually when people talk about Rabbit vibrators, they’re referring to battery-powered vibrators that have a handle with multiple speed options, a shaft for vaginal stimulation, and a little “arm” that comes mid-way off the shaft and that’s intended for clitoral stimulation. The little “arm” has bunny ears (hence the name). Those are just the basics, though. Some Rabbit vibrators look just like that and others are rotating balls, pearls, or beads. Some versions even include electrical stimulation. And while some Rabbits are made with high end silicone (and thus are pretty pricy), others — like the original versions — are made with cheaper Jelly-like material. Water-based lubricant can be used with any of these; silicone-based lubricant should be used only with the non-silicone toys. For more information on the range of vibrators and other sex toys, cleaning, talking with a partner about toys, and so on, check out Because It Feels Good or Moregasm.
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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Innercondomental

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Question out of curiosity: I know that female condoms exist and I get how they are supposed to work. But It just seems like a recipe for, well, having a tube of plastic stuffed up inside of you pretty quickly. Am I wrong here? Never used one and just curious.

— Anonymous, from Tumblr

Sarah: I genuinely do not understand female condoms and I’ve never used one, nor do I plan to. It just seems easier to put a hat on the thing that’s already rod-shaped than the thing that is convex. I would imagine that’s why these things haven’t caught on.

Debby: Female condoms (also sometimes called “internal condoms” as some men use them and some people put them inside the anus/rectum) are indeed worn inside the vagina or anus. But they don’t have to be “stuffed up inside” a person; you can control how gently you insert them, the amount of (water- or silicone-based) lubricant you use, and so on. Similarly, penile condoms aren’t just slammed on penises. With practice using either one, it gets easier. Many people like using female/internal condoms and, if you’re curious about it, I recommend giving it at least 3 or 4 tries before giving up, as with most anything.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Condom control

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Is there any info on which condoms feel the best? I hear good things about Ecstasy condoms, and I’d like to keep some around that feel good so the conversation about using them with new partners is easier.

— Anonymous, from Tumblr

Sarah: Keep two kinds of condoms around at all times: Trojan Ecstasys and a few Magnums just in case. The former because they feel awesome as judged by all major studies, and the latter so that no one can pull that “I’m so big and it doesn’t fit so I’m not going to wear one” bullshit on you.

Debby: A few years ago, my research team conducted an independent condom test (for a magazine) and we found that Trojan Ecstasy condoms were the most well-liked condoms of those in the product trial; the condoms included in the test were “special feature” kinds of condoms either because of they had an innovative shape (like the Ecstasy condoms do, with more room around the shaft, thus allowing for greater sensation) or because of their texture or special lubricants. Of course, everyone is different and there are many condom brands and styles on the market. Some websites and sex shops - and even some drug stores - offer sampler packs that offer the chance to try various styles so people can find the condom(s) that work best for them. I highly recommend shopping around to find a condom that feels comfortable and pleasurable and that you won’t mind using so that you and your partner can have more awesome (and safer) sex. Inscrutable insertables

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Inscrutable insertables

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Is there anything that you definitely, definitely shouldn’t use as an insertable?

— Anonymous, from Tumblr

Sarah: My wonderful sister and brother-in-law are both practicing physicians, and I feel I should say on their behalf the thing that they said to me many years ago: if you have a sex accident, just go to the ER. THEY HAVE SEEN THAT BEFORE, PROBABLY. Go straight to the source of medical problem-solvers and hold your head high as you say to the intake nurse, “I have a lightbulb beyond my reach and I’ll be needing to see a doctor,” Yes, there will be more people “observing” in your room than any other patient in the hospital. Yes, you will meet a lot of smirking med school students and residents to whom you are the only bright spot of levity they might see in a long time. But you’ll also get that thing out of you without hurting yourself any worse. On that note, here are some good rules for choosing the thing you put up in you:

1. Nothing that can create a vacuum once inserted. That means if you’re going to use a bottle, it’s gotta get in there either corked, capped, or bottom-first. This is not a joke. Trying to pull it out on your own will likely end very, very, very badly. DO NOT GOOGLE IT.

2. Nothing fragile or anything that could splinter! If they won’t let you have glass by the pool at the Holiday Inn, you shouldn’t have non-tempered glass (e.g. not Pyrex, that super-tough material most glass dildos are made of) anywhere near your downstairs holes.

3. Nothing that isn’t significantly larger on one end than the other if it doesn’t have some kind of handle. Yes, huge, bulb-shaped dildos are manufactured, but they all come with an easily-gripped handle or wide, separate base. Ask any ER doctor how many lightbulbs they have seen lodged in anuses, and I guarantee you’ll hear about at least one per doc, either that they observed or dealt with personally.

The point is, unless you’re really strapped for cash or you’re trying to satisfy a fetishy itch, just please, for the love of god, go buy a dildo.

Debby: Sarah’s got it covered for the most part! Fragile things are huge no-nos when it comes to anal play. Same with anything that could have splinters or sharp edges or glass that could puncture the rectum. Stay away from anything small that could slip out of your hands and do not ever, ever, ever put anything with a battery in it in the rectum. If it slips up inside and comes loose, and the battery comes out, it could pose a significant health risk so you’d be wise to get to the Emergency Room ASAP. As Sarah alluded, there are many excellent toys that are made specifically for anal play and these tend to have a wide base or a circular “lifesaver ring” to slip your finger through and hold onto, thus reducing the risk of it going rogue.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Intruder in the Isle of Lesbos

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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I have a male friend who is usually really progressive, feminist, and a genuinely good guy who has never made me feel weird or unsafe around him. Recently, I shared that my female partner (I am also a woman) had never had sex with a man but had always had a lingering curiosity about how different it would feel, although she doesn’t really have any interest in seeking out a male partner. Now, disappointingly, my once-cool friend will casually hint or joke about being in a threesome with us (dude, no.) and say shit like, “I’m so feminist, I’m basically a lesbian.” (DUDE NO) Just having the presence of that joke and energy has kind of poisoned my sense of safety and friendship with this person, and I’m bummed out about it. How do I address this with him so we don’t ruin our friendship but this ickiness stops finally?

Sarah: Straight boy stupidity strikes again, as it often does where male sexuality is excluded from female sexuality. For millenia, across all strata of socio-economics and education, there have been born droves of straight men who are so positively sure that their dicks are the instruments of scissoring salvation. I’ll say to them what I say to all straight men suffering from this same delusion: No, gay women are not lesbians because they haven’t had your particular dick in them. It has nothing to do with absent fathers or distant mothers or not feeling fulfilled by a male authority figure in life. Women who love and fuck other women do so because that’s what their sexuality enjoys. Shuffle up and deal with it.

Moreover, ask any lesbian woman how often her sexuality — and I would guess even more so than straight female sexuality — is objectified and intruded upon by speculation, and you might understand why this is such tragic behavior. Every lesbian woman I know has told a man she’s going home with a woman as a means to get them the fuck away only to be asked, “Can I watch? Huh huh huh huh.” The fact that your friend has demoted himself to “basic dumb fuckboy” is disappointing on several levels, because I’m sure you feel like you’ve lost a friend and an ally in a world that’s still openly hostile to the LGBT community.

Probably the second-most infuriating thing about this is the “I’m basically a lesbian part.” Listen, I love barrel-chested lumberjack types and video bars but that doesn’t mean I’m about to ask any of my bear friends if I can squeeze into their fuck sessions because “I get it.” You should start the conversation right there, because this assertion means your friend definitely does not “get it.”

The best way to go about this is just to have a really brutal, awkward conversation about it. State your position clearly and if he doesn’t get the hint, drop him like a hot, dumb potato. Life is too short to waste it on people who shit inches from where they eat. It’s a bummer that this guy, like so many, can’t look at a female friend through a non-sexual lense, but that might be the breaks on this one. Don’t give up on cool dude friends though, because they’re a great thing to have, and you’ll find them if you look. And maybe your friend will come to a greater understanding of what you have to deal with on the daily and knock it off. Everything’s not lost quite yet.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Digital breakdown

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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Is it ever ok to break up with someone over a text/email?

Sarah: That depends on a few factors: are you a fourteen year old with limited fucks to give or Fortune 500 CEO with limited time to give fucks? Unless you’re talking about a super short-term, 3 dates or less, dating or friends-and-bennies situation (in which case you’d be equally fine ghosting completely), this leans toward shady. Of course, we’ve all been in situations where we wandered into the romantic mire of a genuinely unstable person you can’t break up with in person. In these limited situations, the text-based breakup is acceptable. However, you get a limited number of accidental matchups with crazies before you have to acknowledge your culpability in choosing people who “force” you to take this way out. You know what they say: “Boil my bunny once, shame on you. Boil my bunny twice, shame on me.”

The long and the short of this answer is, if your relationship was substantive enough that a breakup requires some kind of communication, the very least you can do is a call. I may be old fashioned, but I think doing the breaking up in person gives both parties a chance to say their peace and walk away (hopefully). If you just want to tell someone that you had a fun first date but there’s not much spark, that’s a text conversation, if it’s a conversation at all.

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