For our fifth anniversary I returned to some of my older articles and collected an array of tips, suggestions and advice. I reread every article I wrote since 2013, and I decided to do this on a Sunday afternoon while watching old James Bond movies. (I cannot believe there is a James Bond movie called Octopussy!)
The first message I would like to reiterate is that gonorrhea is becoming drug resistant. It is a good idea to get tested and treated and use condoms if you don’t want to have gonorrhea for the rest of your life. Also, many STIs show no symptoms. Cold sores are herpes even if people call them cute things like sun blisters, and can be spread to genitals during oral sex.
Get tested regularly even if you think you are in a monogamous relationship; your partner may think differently.
Masturbation is good. Pleasure is good. Lube is good. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That being said, there are many reasons people may not feel comfortable masturbating or feeling pleasure, and this needs to be respected too.
The anus does not naturally lubricate like the vagina, so lots of lube during anal sex is beneficial.
Use a barrier (a dental dam, for example) between your mouth and someone’s butthole.
And now one of my pet peeves: the external genitalia is the vulva, not the vagina! The vulva includes the inner and outer labia, clitoral hood, clitoris, vestibule and the mons pubis. You can see the urethral and vaginal openings externally but not the vagina itself. The vagina is the internal canal that leads to the cervix and uterus and is often involved in menstruation, penis in vagina sex, pregnancy and birth. Vulvas have the same amount of erectile tissue as a penis. If you have a vulva, take a look.
A person has three options when they become pregnant; abort, make an adoption plan, or parent. It is the choice of the person who is pregnant and no one else. People are not pro-abortion. Comprehensive sex education and accessible birth control can help prevent abortions. An abortion pill has been approved in Canada, but is not yet available. Emergency contraception (like Plan B) is available in pharmacies without a prescription, and cheapest at Walmart and Costco.
Sex education is life education, so please talk with your children about bodies, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, puberty and consent, among so many other topics.
Talking openly and honestly with your children can help prevent sexual abuse, sexual assault and unhealthy relationships. It can increase their trust in you. Open communication is important between parents and children as well as between people in relationships. It may be uncomfortable or awkward at first, but I promise that the more you talk about sex, the more comfortable you become talking about sex. And the more you can talk about sex the more you will learn about sex. And learning about sex is a good thing.
Finally, my top three take home messages: truffle butter is not a culinary delicacy, bush is back and read Judy Blume.
Stacey Jacobs has been a Sex Educator for almost 2 decades. For 13 of those years she worked as a Sexual Health Educator at Planned Parenthood. She teaches in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies Program at the University of Waterloo and when not educating, she enjoys reading, walking her dogs and eating good food. The life of a Sex Educator is usually not as interesting as people assume.