Over the years masturbation has become less shameful but I still think there is a large stigma around women masturbating. Men masturbate all the time and everyone knows it. Masturbating is completely normal for all genders and is actually good for your health. When you orgasm your body releases the endorphins dopamine and oxytocin. Some people masturbate frequently, daily, or never. There is no such thing as masturbating “too much.”

Some people grow up to feel guilty or shameful about masturbating. It is nothing to be ashamed of and everyone does it. Even if they don’t admit it. Some people find out at an early age that touching themselves can feel good. Most kids explore their genitals at a young age because we are human and it’s natural to want to feel pleasure. If you still have’t explored your genitals that’s okay too. Just remember that everyone does it and it can actually reduce stress.

Some myths about masturbation include – girls who masturbate are more sexually active, it can cause mental illness, only people who don’t have partners masturbate, and it can affect your period and ability to have children. These are all false. Wanting to explore your sexuality is natural and does NOT cause any health problems.

There are plenty of reasons as to why you might masturbate. It helps you relax, releases sexual tension, helps you sleep, relieves menstrual cramps and tension, and lets you understand your body. When you allow yourself to freely explore your own body you can then understand what you like and don’t like. Learning how to have orgasms on your own can make it easier to have one with a partner. You can guide them as to what works for you. When you are comfortable with your body you are more likely to be comfortable with your partner about sex, protecting yourself against STDS, and talking about other sexual needs.

Some people also may masturbate because they are not sexually active and want to orgasm. Even if you do have a partner it’s still completely normal to masturbate when they aren’t around. Masturbating when you have a partner does not mean they aren’t satisfying you. The main reason why people masturbate is because it feels good!

There is no “normal” way to masturbate. Toys or touching yourself is completely normal. Masturbation is touching or rubbing your genitals. If fingering does not feel good to you or help you achieve an orgasm, you can also rub your clitoris (located at the top of the vulva, in between the labia). The clitoris is small and the most sensitive part of the vagina. The head of the clitoris has about 10,000 nerve endings – a guaranteed pleasure spot. Most women do not orgasm by penetration alone. They need clitoral stimulation as well. The size and shape of the clitoris ranges among women and everyone is different in what they have & prefer.

Masturbation only becomes a “problem” when it affects your daily responsibilities or you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If it is associated with depression, extreme guilt, anxiety, withdrawal, or other emotional problems you might want to see a counselor.

In my next post I will discuss the affects that porn has on masturbation and sex expectations. Until then, happy masturbating!

Without emotional intimacy a relationship is bound to fail. To me, intimacy is when you are vulnerable with your emotions and share your mind honestly & openly. I think everyone is a little scared to be intimate with someone because you can feel out of control. Getting close to someone can mean rejection, pain, and tons of other strong emotions.

Being intimate with someone takes time.

I think people are becoming less intimate with each other and that upsets me. It’s so easy to hide emotions and the pressure of society doesn’t help. Intimacy isn’t about asking how someone is, sleeping in the same bed, or texting all day. None of this really means you know & feel for someone. It’s about being honest with your struggles and how your mind works. It’s about sharing your mind and emotions with someone without fear.

Sometimes when someone is trying to get close to you, it’s easier to push them away than deal with the strong emotions you feel.

I have issues with intimacy as well. It may be from my past of being hurt and let down by people I trust and love. For a long time I didn’t realize I had a fear of intimacy and I didn’t know how to change it.

These are some common signs for someone who is scared of intimacy:

  1. Sabotaging your relationships. Whether that is by being unfaithful or creating a problem when you are happy, it’s still pushing away intimacy. By sabotaging that strong connection you have then escaped the chance of getting hurt. By being unfaithful to your partner you create an emotional distance which can make the feelings seem less close to your heart.
  2. Fear of rejection. This is deeper than just a fear of someone saying no to you. This fear comes from a deep place inside where you feel “unworthy” of someones love so you choose to be alone. By avoiding the relationship all together, there is no chance of rejection, because you never even tried.
  3. Wrong partners. Do you always pick the same partner who you see no future with? Picking partners who you see no future with or who don’t expect anything from you lets you avoid intimacy. This is the worst way to avoid it because you can feel empty and abandoned.
  4. Pushing people away. It’s normal to make them work for it in the beginning but completely ghosting someone is an indicator that you are scared to get emotionally close. If you have been ghosted, just know it’s their own insecurities and it probably has nothing to do with you! Unless you did something insane, then I’m not sure.
  5. Scared of physical intimacy. When you are emotionally scared it can make sex difficult. You can either have lots of partners to try to avoid the possibility of actually getting to know someone, or scared to truly make love. There is a big difference. You might try to avoid feeling vulnerable or exposed during sex. This can cause you to not let your partner into your mind, thus destroying intimacy.

What to do if you experience any of these behaviors:

  1. Be honest with yourself and admit it. We all say we want love and to be real with each other, but not a lot of us actually do it. Look at your past patterns and be really honest with what has happened to you and why you might act this way.
  2. Feel your feelings. Falling in love can remind us of our past pain, but don’t kill it. When you avoid the pain you minimize the joy felt. Allow yourself to feel deeply for others and be open to the strong emotions.
  3. Accept vulnerability. The dating world promotes a culture of game-playing. “Don’t let her see how much you like her, who cares least, etc.” Don’t fall into it. Being vulnerable shows strength. It shows that you overcame the fears in your mind and stayed yourself. It’s okay to be vulnerable and open. In fact, it’s cooler when you can express how much you like someone.
  4. Love yourself. This is cliché but honestly the most important. When you learn to love yourself at a deeper level you can become intimate with yourself, then with others. Most people fear intimacy because they are scared to be abandoned. But when you love yourself you will never truly be abandoned. You will have yourself.

There are many other ways to overcome this but these are what have helped me. It’s also very normal to experience some of these signs. Most people have intimacy issues. I just hope we can all be aware if we do, and try to work on it. I hope people can become more open with each other because it will lead them to a happier relationship with themselves, and others.

To start, this is no black and white topic. This is just my opinion and experience. Although I slightly cringe when thinking about my first time, I believe it’s important to be honest with myself in order for people to feel comfortable. Somebody’s gotta do it. I’m not about to blab about losing my virginity because that would honestly be quite boring for you, but I will speak from my own experience.

Losing your virginity probably doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore because most of us are adults now and think we know all about sex. I don’t even know all about it, and I research it all the time, so I know people are putting up a front. There is a huge pressure on our society to be sexy and have sex. This is all nonsense and should not affect your decision on when to lose your virginity.

Not everyone our age is having sex & that’s okay. There are still plenty of virgins out there doing their thing.

I’ve been asked if it hurts, when to do it, how to do it, etc. These questions are all relative. It really depends on who you lose it to, and that doesn’t have to be someone you are in love with. I’ve seen both sides of this. Women who want to be in love when they lose it or women who are 21 and just want to get it over with. No judgment to either side because there are pros and cons to both.

It’s not an unbearable pain but you may be sore afterwards and it is uncomfortable. It’s an unfamiliar pressure so it’s important to be aroused during it. Being comfortable with your partner, lube, and using foreplay can help. It’s normal to be nervous so you may not produce enough natural fluids. If you are having a difficult time becoming aroused, you can use a natural lube. Sex takes a lot of patience and communication. Some people experience pleasure during their first time and some don’t. It’s completely normal to be on either side of the spectrum. There also may be blood the first time but not for everybody. Some people naturally have more hymenal tissue than others which causes more pain and bleeding when their hymen gets stretched.

For me, I believe that losing it to someone you are familiar with can help it not be as painful. I believe this because when you are comfortable with someone your vagina actually relaxes and you can produce more secretion. With that being said, it’s completely okay to lose it to someone who are not in a relationship or in love with. I think there is pressure to be “in love” or a relationship in order to have sex. As long as you both respect each other and are safe, you can feel comfortable.

I recommended exploring your vagina prior to engaging in sex because it can help you feel comfortable with someone else exploring it. It’s important to understand your anatomy and what you like. Always use protection when having sex, and do not feel uncomfortable asking for a condom. If the man says no, you probably shouldn’t be losing your virginity to him. If you are on birth control it’s still important to use a condom because birth control only prevents pregnancies.

Second, there is no right or wrong time to lose it. There is really no right or wrong to any of this. Who and when you lose it is completely your choice. Just make sure you are safe about it and your partner respects you. Some prefer to wait and others like to rip it off like a Band-Aid. It does not reflect who you are as a person, and anyone should respect your decision. Whenever you feel ready, go for it.

When it comes to how to have sex this is completely between you are your partner and there is no wrong or right way. This is why being familiar with your partner could help because you can sort of understand how their body works with yours. Some bodies just don’t work together and it’s awkward. That’s normal. There are also bodies that work really well together and it can be beautiful. Everyone is different in what they prefer so “how to” might change according to who your partner is. Just be open and honest with your partner about what you aren’t liking, and what you do like. Be open to changing directions and listening to your partners needs as well. If you feel uncomfortable speaking about it during sex, you can express yourself afterwards.

Finally, I know it can be hard to “find the one” but you will know when it’s right and when it’s wrong. Trust yourself. Don’t expect it to be amazing the first time. There is a lot of hype around sex and it’s normal to not feel super sexy the first couple times. Just continue to be honest with your partner and open with yourself. Once you become comfortable with it and respect your body, the experience can be truly beautiful.

How recently have you washed your sex toys? If you are using sex toys such as dildos, butt plugs, vibrators or any other toy it is crucial to effectively clean them in order to prevent infections and bacteria. Make sure to wash your toy before and after every use. Depending on where you store your toys, they can pick up bacteria from the open air so a quick wash before and after is necessary. You don’t want body fluids drying on your toy then throwing it back in your drawer. You should also clean them before moving them from the vaginal area to the anus to prevent bacteria from transferring. It’s especially crucial to wash your sex toy if you are sharing the device with an infected partner, otherwise you run the risk of an STD the next time you use it.

In order to know how to effectively clean them you first need to know what material the toy is. Some toys can be put in boiling water for a deep clean while others run the risk of exploding because of the motor. If your toy is electric avoiding any soaking is the best bet. Usually the information regarding the material is on the package but you can also look it up online.

Once you know what material it is you can properly wash it. I headed over to The Pink Pussy Cat, a sex shop in NYC to get the details on how to clean sex toys. Follow these efficient tips from expert, Marie (omitted last name) on how to give your toy the TLC it deserves.   

  1. If it is glass/metal/ or silicone without a motor: Marie recommends placing any non-porous toy (porous toys are typically softer materials such as jelly rubber, PVC, TPR) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Non-porous toys are typically made out of a harder material and can handle the boiling water.
  2. If it is glass/metal/ or silicone with a motor: These are porous toys and can be washed with an antibacterial soap such as Dial or even wiped down with a baby wipe if you are sensitive, says Marie.
  3. Porous toys that you share: Antibacterial soap and water will clean the toy but if you are sharing it condoms should be placed over the toy to help prevent spreading any infection or bacteria, she says.
  4. Cyberskin: This is a material that is supposed to feel much like human skin. These toys work best with soap and water but when it comes to preserving the texture of the material, cleaning with corn starch does the trick, she says.

After your toy is cleaned Marie actually recommends air drying the toy and storing it in a clean spot. If you are on a budget, a zip- lock baggy will do just fine. You can also purchase sex toy bags. Deciding on where to store the goodies is completely up to you!

In this post I will discuss the difference between infections and STDS and how they are tested. This is so important because there was a time when I had a yeast infection and I told my boyfriend and he thought he had an STD and was going to die. That is so ridiculous and just not right at all, but I do not blame these men for not knowing the difference. So us women need to know the difference so we can educate the men and ourselves with correct info.

To start, an STD and an STI are two different things. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease. Having an STI means that an individual has an infection, but that it has not yet developed into a disease. Take HPV for instance: Typically a woman with HPV does not have any symptoms, but she carries the virus. She has an STI; but if she develops cervical cancer from HPV, she now has an STD since cancer is a disease. The same is true for individuals who have chlamydia or gonorrhea cases that develop into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Not all STIs turn into STDs. The tricky thing is that a lot of STIs do not show symptoms and they can easily turn into STDs if not tested. There are so many conversations about the difference between these two and its almost impossible to get a clear answer online but I believe that they are two different things. Just because you have a STI does not mean you have an STD. So do not be scared to say you have a bacterial infection because it is an infection not an STD!!! If you are unsure about which one you have clarify with your gyno.

There are different ways to test for STDs & STIs. To test for chlamydia and gonorrhea, all that is required is a urine sample and swab. For other STDs like herpes, hepatitis, HIV and syphilis, a small blood sample will be tested. Mostly all STDs are tested through blood and infections are tested through urine and swabs.

Smaller infections such as a yeast or bacteria can sometimes be tested on the spot. During an exam the gyno may recognize a difference in your discharge, red swelling, or a foul smell. These are all symptoms of a yeast infection and sometimes further testing will not be needed. Swabs can also be taken to a microscope and the gyno can examine it for bacteria while you wait in the office. The types of tests you receive all depends on your symptoms and what your doctor thinks is best.

One thing I have learned from my many gyno visits is that it depends on where you go to get tested. This is why I strongly advice going to an actual gyno because not to hate on my school nurses or CityMD but they have no idea what they are doing. The gyno will test you and treat you correctly.

STIs can be easily cured and cleared by antibiotics so it is very important to get tested for these before they develop into something serious and possibly life changing. Symptoms of STIs include and are not limited to:

  • An unusual discharge (a different color, smell, or amount) from the vagina.
  • A burning feeling when urinating.
  • Pain during sex or masturbation.
  • Excessive itching in the vagina or labia.
  • Unusual bumps or a rash on your genitals.
  • Heavier-than-usual bleeding from your vagina.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms it is very important to make a gyno appointment and go get tested asap!!

 

 

 

 

 

This post will include the simple steps of a gyno visit. I made a list just to show how easy it is. Also, I know some of you may look at these posts and think “wow everyone knows this” but that is exactly why I’m writing this blog because you are wrong. A lot of people do not get this sexual education through school or their parents. So just read along and support and knowledge the people who may not be as fortunate as you!! Like I said before I want this conversation to be heard.

Ok here are the steps!! Please note these are the basic steps for an annual exam. Each exam is different depending on what you are getting tested for. Before every annual you will be asked to pee in a cup and leave it in the bathroom to get tested as well. That part is by yourself and they always have instructions in the bathroom.

An annual exam is a once- a- year visit to your gyno for a vaginal exam, breast exam, and over all health exam.

  1. A nurse will escort you into a doctors room where you will sit on the comfy big chair covered in a plastic wrap because of sanitary reasons. She will then ask you some questions like when was your last period, what brought you in today, medical history, etc.
  2. After the nurse jots down your responses she will walk out the room and give you a couple minutes to get undressed before the doctor comes in.
  3. Once she has left you proceed to take off all your clothes for the exam. I keep my socks on because I feel weird going sock-less.
  4. You then put on the gown, robe, etc that they have left for you in the room and wait for the doctor. She will knock before entering.
  5. After you greet the doctor and discuss what brought you in, you lean back on the chair and prop your feet up on these metal things. At this point you are laying back with your legs open.
  6. The doctor will then exam your vagina by inserting this tool called a speculum, which basically just opens up your vagina very slowly and carefully, so the doctor can see what is going on and test. They may use some gel to soften this process.
  7. Swabs are then taken from the cervix, (the cervix is where bacteria, cancer, HPV, infection, etc can grow inside the vagina)
  8. After the swabs are quickly inserted the doctor will remove the speculum and you are all done!! It helps to take some deep breaths when the speculum is going in and out.
  9. In an annual exam, the doctor will also give a breast exam and feel your lower belly for anything weird.
  10. The swabs are then put into little containers and sent off to the lab!! Results then typically take 2-3 days.

This is the standard process for an annual exam. You can go to the gyno more than once a year, you can go whenever something is off down there. There are also some STDS that can not be tested through swabs and you will need blood work done. Next post I will discuss how different stds and infections are tested.

P.S a pap smear is also done during an annual exam but you are supposed to be 21 when you get one. This is a sticky situation because a pap smear is what tests for HPV. HPV is what my mom had and what turned into cervical cancer. So, I got a pap smear when I was 18 because my gyno wanted to start testing early. The reason they do not usually test for this before 21 is because almost 80% of sexually active adults have HPV but do not know it or it goes away on its own. When you are young the virus will fight itself off. HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a viral infection that is passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. HPV can cause genital warts and changes to the cells in the vagina. If these cells become abnormal this is when it can turn into cervical cancer. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV, which makes it extremely easy to get.

Good news is that there is a HPV vaccine that can prevent most genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. So if you are sexually active go get the shot and keep up with your annual visits!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to talk about how to pick a gynecologist and what the process includes. In this specific post I will just discuss how to pick one and the next post I will include the process. To start, everyone who is sexually active should have a gynecologist. I understand that a primary doctor can examine you and act as a gynecologist but from my own experience it just isn’t the same. The main reason why I think you need a separate doctor for your vagina is simply because you are a woman and deserve one!! A women’s anatomy is a complex and beautiful thing to learn about and take care of, an ordinary doctor will just not do. The vagina is what makes a woman feel sexy and confident. No one feels good about themselves if they are itchy, experiencing pain, or whatever else happens down there. A doctor is great for your body but please please treat yourself to at least one visit because it is comforting and they know best. Walking out of the gynecologist knowing your in great health down there feels amazing!

So why would you go to a gynecologist if you are having protected sex or no sex at all? Yes, using a condom can protect you from STDs but if you are sexually active you can still get an infection like a yeast infection, bacterial infection, or a UTI. Infections and STDS are NOT the same. Infections do not always have to do with sex so someone who is not sexually active can still go see a gynecologist. Any lady can get a UTI from either wiping weird, wearing sweaty clothing for too long, having an imbalance in your PH levels, etc. A yeast infection can also happen to women who have never been sexually active because the vagina is a sensitive thing and can have an overgrowth of yeast due to diet or stress which can lead to the infection. Although these are more common in women who are sexually active. These are just some infections that non sexually active woman can have. If you are having protected sex, these infections can happen as well.

I understand seeing a gynecologist without having sex or having protected sex can seem silly or not needed but just know that if you ever do experience something off, they are there to help you and talk to you. Of course the main reason you would go to a gynecologist is if you are sexually active because infections and STDS are more likely to occur and it’s just necessary to check up on it.

Now that we have established that gynos are open to any lady, let’s discuss the search for one. I know opening your legs for a random person is extremely weird and honestly very invasive. This thought can be scary and off-putting but trust me it’s not that bad. The first time I went I was nervous and it helps to have someone to talk you through it so maybe bring a close friend or someone you are comfortable sharing this experience with. You can also always reach out to me with questions!

It is so important to do research before picking a gyno. You don’t want to just step foot in any gyno office because they are looking at a very special part of your body. I was lucky and found mine through my step mom, but any google research will work as well. If you have a recommendation that is also great. Luckily there are apps that allow you to put in what you are searching for and it gives you a doctor within a certain distance, what they specialize in, if they take your insurance, and their availability. You can even include the reason for visiting, such as itching or irregular bleeding. I’ve used the app ZoDoc, and I love it. Since moving to the city I have not yet found my perfect gyno. My main girl is back home in Colorado, but I have seen some in the city.

This is a huge trial and error process so do not get discouraged if the first one you see isn’t the best fit. Last year, I had a UTI and had to find a gyno in short notice. Like I said, I don’t have a set lady I see in the city so I found one near my apartment and went. This was the worst experience. I saw a man, and I’m not saying that was the reason, but in my opinion I think seeing a woman is best. He was very harsh and did not warn me before sticking a Q-tip up me. I felt very invaded and it was honestly painful which it NEVER should be. Yes, it is slightly uncomfortable but it should not cause a sharp and unpredictable pain. The process should be fairly easy and I just don’t think a man understands the pain and issues a vagina can cause a woman because they don’t have one!! They can try to understand all they want and study it for years but they just don’t get it.

Man or woman your gynecologist should be gentle and kind because it helps you as a patient feel at ease. An angry doctor looking at your vagina just causes bad energy down there. They should also walk you through whatever process they do so you don’t get an unexpected Q- tip in you. Of course you should meet your gynecologist first for a meeting before getting examined to see if you like their energy. No matter who you choose just know that they are here to help you and that you deserve a caring and informative doctor. After you go a couple times the process will be easy and it won’t be weird at all. Just another trip to the vagina doctor!

Next post will include what actually goes down at the gyno, aka the process!

During my junior year of high school my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. My mom and I always spoke freely of sex, our bodies, etc. When I was younger I was always curious about sex and what it felt like to be in love. I was very open with my mom about these topics and I became even more interested during my junior year. I started to learn that the main cause of cervical cancer is from a sexually transmitted virus called HPV. After my mom passed away from the cervical cancer, I discovered that many people do not know how sex can affect your health, and your loved ones. Sex is much more than just a physical interaction, you may fall in love or you may contract an STD that can change your life.

As I became more involved in this research, I realized that many women and men do not even know basic sexual education topics. Most people do not know the difference between STDs and STIs or when to see a gynecologist. I blame the US school systems because obviously not everyone is getting the sex education they deserve. I became wildly passionate about educating myself, and others on how to care for your body and that lead me to the creation of this blog.

The goal of this blog is to help people feel comfortable with these topics and create an educated space where this conversation is heard, not shoved under the rug. No one likes discussing embarrassing moments that happened under the sheets or the fact that they might be overwhelmed by the sexual pressure in our society. Although these are difficult subjects to discuss, the more we come together and open up the easier it will be.

In the first couple posts I will be discussing topics that most young adults don’t know about or are uncomfortable to speak about. I will also touch on how knowing more about your sexuality and desires can lead you to feeling confident and powerful. Some topics I will discuss are STDS, masturbating, when to see a gyno, virginity, etc.

These articles will be coming from my own experience and tons of research. Social media has completely changed the way we express ourselves, and it affects our sex lives. The pressure on society to be sexy and be wanted is at an all-time high. You can still be sexy and wanted without participating in any sexual activities.

I was so lucky to have a mom who never judged me or made me feel weird about this conversation and I want people to feel the same. So here is to HUSH, a blog that empowers women and men by educating them on sex, love, and their own bodies.