Because Plan B can effect if or when a person releases an egg from the ovaries to the uterus (called ovulation) it can effect when the person next has a menstrual bleed and/or how heavy or crampy the bleeding is. This is because the menstrual cycle was altered, but has nothing to do with whether the person would or would not have become pregnant. The medicine in Plan B is called progestin, which is almost exactly like the hormone progesterone produced in your body. This hormone can alter the menstrual cycle, but cannot cause an abortion.
Sometimes I get questions about the pros and cons of circumcision for people with a penis. Here is what is currently known about this issue:
Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics position statement on circumcision states that the health benefits are significant enough to warrant providing the procedure to families who choose it, but insufficient to recommend or require that all newborns with a penis are circumcised.
Benefits: Decreased risk of urinary tract infection, decreased risk of penile cancer, decreased risk of transmissions of some sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
Risks: Bleeding or infection from the procedure itself, potential that the newborn experiences pain during the procedure.
There are some anti-circumcision activists who claim that circumcision decreases sexual sensation in the adult penis. There are no studies to support this claim. Others simply argue that there is no reason to irreversibly alter a newborn’s body without good reason and that the person with a penis should be able to make this decision for themselves.
Finally, some religions dictate penile circumcision in infancy.
There is an important distinction between circumcision of the penis and what is sometimes called female circumcision or female genital cutting or mutilation. With regards to cutting the vulva and clitoris there are zero health benefits to doing so, so the risks automatically outweigh the benefits because there are no health benefits. Further, there is significant risk of infection and even death from the procedure. Vulvar and clitoral cutting complicate urination, intercourse, and childbirth and deprive the person of sexual sensation.
I get a lot of questions about how plan B works so let’s break it down:
First of all, Plan B does not cause an abortion. It can’t cause an abortion. It doesn’t have the right medications to do that. Besides, if causing an abortion was that easy we wouldn’t be facing the fight for abortion access that we are currently facing.
Plan B is simply a dose of progestin which is chemically identical to the progesterone produced by your own body.
If you are at a certain point in your menstrual cycle and you have not ovulated yet, this dose of progesterone can keep you from ovulating.
That means there might be sperm in your uterus, but if your body does not release an egg (ovulate) the sperm and egg cannot meet and you cannot become pregnant.
If you take Plan B and you already ovulated, the plan B medication will not do anything. You may become pregnant or you may not but the plan B will have no effect.
If you take Plan B and you are already pregnant the plan B will not affect the pregnancy. There is not a way for progestin to end a pregnancy.
Plan B is available “behind the counter.” That means you do not need a prescription for it, but you won’t find it on the shelf. You have to ask the pharmacist to get it for you (just like you do with some cold medicine). However, if you want your insurance to pay for it it will be cheaper with a prescription. You can get a prescription for Plan B at planned parenthood (614-222-3531), Primary one health (614-645-5500), or Nationwide Children’s Hospital (614-355-6350, up to age 21).
Plan B can work for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, but it works best the sooner you take it.
Ideally when you get a prescription for any birth control, your healthcare provider should also give you a prescription for Plan B.
First of all, I think everyone struggles with this one at some point. You like someone and you want to let them know, but how? I think the biggest obstacle is that when we tell someone we like them and want to be romantically involved or want to have sex with that person we make ourselves vulnerable and then we fear rejection. Just by asking this question though you are on your want to having safer, more pleasurable sex because you care about communicating! Yay! Start by telling the person you like them and see what happens. If the person likes you back you might say something like “I want to get to know you better” or “I would like to spend more time together.” Take it one step at a time. If you want to have sex, break that down too. Start with “I want to kiss you” or whatever it is you want to do first. You don’t have to play all your cards at once, but by taking one step at a time you can control how vulnerable you want to be and will also be on your way to having healthy conversations with this person and others about how you do or don’t want to be intimate as the relationship progresses.
This info was compiled by a sex positive activist at Columbus Public Health:
SEX TOYS 101
When you are thinking of buying a toy there are a few things to think about before going into a store. There are an overwhelming amount of options out there and it can be helpful to narrow it down before starting.
How much do you want to spend?
If it vibrates, how strong should it be?
Do you want something that is internal, external, or both?
Will you be using the toy with multiple partners? How easy should it be to sterilize?
Do you want something that is eco-friendly? Rechargeable?
What aesthetic appeals to you?
Do you have a preference for what it is made out of?
Don’t let this be an overwhelming quest! Choosing a toy can be exciting and fun. There are a lot of online resources that can help you find a toy that you might like. Here are a few websites worth visiting.
Toys for Penises
- Pros: Cheapest, can be used with any toy, easy go-to lube, can be “re-activated” with more water, saliva, or natural vaginal lubrication.
- Cons: Can dry out quickly, doesn’t offer the same level of protection, usually need to use a larger amount.
- Pros: Lasts for a long time, offers more protection, a little goes a long way, best for anal sex, generally hypoallergenic.
- Cons: Doesn’t taste good, stains sheets, on until you wash it off, expensive, cannot be used with any silicone toys.
- Pros: Very easily accessible (coconut oil, vaseline), can come from natural sources, long lasting.
- Cons: Destroys condoms and wears down plastic toys.
Hybrids and Silks
- Pros: Lasts longer, closest feel to natural vaginal lubrication, doesn’t stain sheets, can be used with silicone toys if they are washed off immediately after.
- Cons: Still doesn’t taste very good, doesn’t last as long as silicone, you have to run off and wash your toy.
A quick note on silicone:
Silicone is its own worst enemy. When silicone comes in contact with other silicone (like a lube and a toy) it creates a bond and you are left with a gooey, gross mess and a ruined toy. Do not use silicone with silicone and do not store silicone toys together for a long time. Medical grade silicone is the most resistant to this process, but can still get destroyed. If you love silicone lube, here are a few other materials that toys are made out of that you can use: glass, stainless steel, hard plastic, wood, ceramic.
A quick note on “jelly” toys and phthalates:
Soft plastics make with phthalates are bad news in toys. The limit for phthalates in children’s toys is 0.1%, but there is no limit in sex toys and it can be upwards of 70%! Phthalates are a rubber softener that is everywhere, but is toxic to the human body. If you aren’t sure, just smell the toy! If it smells like a new car it contains phthalates.
Lubes Part 2
Great for making oral sex fun, especially popular for analingus, many organic lubes have started offering flavored options. Many contain sugars and glycerines that can bring on yeast infections or urinary tract infections for people who are sensitive.
Warming and Cooling
These lubes are fun, but can also be irritating. Cooling is usually menthol and warming is usually cinnamon. These can be more intense, even painful, when used anally. It can also take some time to loose effect.
Organics and Hemp
There are a ton of new natural products that are organic or naturally based. Sliquid Lubes have an organic line, O’my has a hemp based lube, and more are coming out all of the time.
Never, never, never use numbing lubes! Sex should NOT hurt and numbing your body makes it open to potential serious and long term injury. This is often used in anal sex, but numbing does not relax the muscles that are causing potential pain in the first place.
This was a popular spermicide that is still used in lubes and on condoms. This is frequently the reason behind post-sex irritation or yeast infections. It can be abrasive on membranes, creating a higher potential for STI transmission. It is also not very effective as a spermicide.
These are harmful toxins that are quickly absorbed into skin and have been linked to breast cancer. Many lubes now state “paraben free”
Always pee after any kind of sex! Many people suffer from post-sex urinary tract infections, especially women. Peeing after sex clears the urethra and stops the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
Some people experience difficulty achieving orgasm when taking a selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI, a type of antidepressant medication). This is a very common and unfortunate side effect of this type of medication. First, talk with your prescriber about this issue, sometimes the prescriber will change your medication or add another medication called Wellbutrin to help counter this common side-effect.
Does the Otterbein Health Center provide any type of birth control?
Great question! My understanding is that the providers at the Otterbein Health Center will provide a prescription for contraceptive pills. That’s great, but the most effective form of contraception is a category called LARCs or long acting reversible contraceptives. This type of contraception is most effective because you don’t have to remember to take it everyday and no medicines or illnesses can interfere with their ability to work. LARCs include intrauterine devices (IUDs) that work inside your uterus and the single rod implant (Nexplanon) that goes right under the skin of your arm. You can get these methods at low or no cost at any local Planned Parenthood office (614-222-3531), Primary One Health Care (614-645-5500), Nationwide Children’s Hospital (614-355-6350 up to age 21), and Columbus Public Health Women’s Clinic (614-645-5500).
What the heck is a dental dam? It’s basically a condom-type barrier for your tongue, only flat against your partner, not a tube! Just like you would use a condom for penis-vagina sex, if you are putting your mouth on someone else’s clitoris, vulva, vagina or anus, use a barrier!
Boring, but important: Sexually transmitted infections including herpes, HPV and gonorrhea can travel between your mouth and your sex partner’s butt or vulva.
The fun part: Dental dams are nice and big to give you lots of coverage for lots of creative pleasuring. They also come in flavors! You layer your dam like this-
butt or vulva/vagina/clitoris then lots of lube, then dental dam, then your tongue. All that lube will make things feel even better for whomever is receiving all your action.
Dental dams can be expensive and we don’t always have them in stock on campus. You can sometimes get them from the residence advisors or from the health center. You can DEFINITELY get them from the URGE/askeva table in the CC on Wednesday October 19th from 11am-1pm. If you want some oral fun before that or ever find yourself without a dam when you need one you can cut a condom or glove into a rectangle and use that. You can also cut Saran brand plastic wrap to whatever size and shape you want. Here’s the thing with Saran wrap, though, I like a bargain as much as the next gal, but ONLY Saran brand has been tested to not allow the passage of the stuff you are trying to avoid passing. ALSO SUPER IMPORTANT don’t buy the microwave friendly Saran wrap. It has special vent holes which is exactly what you DON’T want.
As with anything sex-related communication and playfulness make it way more fun (and safe!). Take turns putting on your lube and dam, experiment with brands and flavors and find something you enjoy!
In honor of National Midwifery Week (next week) I want to spread the word that midwives are reproductive healthcare providers who offer family-centered childbirth AND reproductive health care for people through out the lifespan. Reproductive justice, of course, includes the right to information about childbirth choices. Midwives specialize in education and choice and operate based on a set of hallmarks that starts with the patient or client as a partner in care. If you are looking for a new healthcare provider, consider seeing a midwife! You can find out more about midwifery care at the website and on the video here:
This coming Tuesday at the URGE meeting (7-8pm in the library basement) and Wednesday (at lunchtime outside the CC), the Otterbein University URGE chapter and our statewide organizer, Allie Lahey, will be educating about the each woman act which has a radical agenda to reverse funding restrictions for abortion and address the disparity in abortion access for low income women and women of color. Note in the restrictions below that restrictions on public funding are among the many abortion restrictions in Ohio.
Restrictions on Abortion
In Ohio, the following restrictions on abortion were in effect as of December 1, 2015:
- A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided. Counseling must be provided in person and must take place before the waiting period begins, thereby necessitating two separate trips to the facility.
- Health plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion in cases when the woman’s life is endangered, rape or incest.
- Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
- Medication abortion must be provided using the FDA protocol, thereby preventing the use of a more common, simpler evidence-based regimen.
- The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
- Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
- Most women will undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; since the provider must test for the fetal heartbeat. The woman will be offered the option to view the image.