Copyright 1998 Kathryn Grosz. Nothing in these articles in whole or in part may be duplicated in any way.
For those of us whose lifestyles include being sexual with multiple partners, the specter of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases must be dealt with. Many options are available which lower risks of disease to next to nothing and are more fun, powerful and exciting. We will discuss two things - a way to discover your partner's most exciting erogenous zones and, AIDS.
Here is a simple way to improve the quality of your sexual play. It's "THE CLOCK". How can a man or woman tell their partner precisely which spots feel the best and get them the most turned on? It is difficult because we do not have enough labels for all the special locations. Pretend there are clocks on your genitals. The clitoris can be a clock with the top at twelve and the bottom at six. The opening to the vagina can be a clock. The front inside part of the vagina, the back inside part of the vagina, the cervix, the head of the penis, and the two sides of the balls can each be clocks.
Now that you have the clocks, touch your partner (using a lubricant so there are no abrasions and to increase feeling) at all the various locations on the clock and have them rate how good it feels. Try the touching in various ways - light, medium or heavy pressure, short or long strokes, round strokes, a broad area, a tiny area, fast or slow, etc. As you and your partner learn to identify the exact locations and what works, your sex play will get better. Do each person separately so you do not get mixed up and to focus all of the attention on one person at a time.
How good a particular spot feels will change depending upon the arousal level that is experienced as a result of engorgement of the genital tissues. As engorgement increases the sensitivity of the feeling changes. This is why many women like light pressure to begin with and heavy pressure later. This is why you may think your partner has changed that wonderful thing they were doing when actually it's sensitivity which has changed.
THE CLOCK works with any partner and you can do it by yourself. Your partner wants to know what makes you feel best because that makes them successful lovers. Be sure to include all the areas inside the vagina. When I first used THE CLOCK, I was amazed at all the great spots I had missed for many years!
Hints at good locations: The woman's left side of the clitoris between two and three o'clock. The left side of the clitoris at five o'clock. The inside top of the vagina at twelve o'clock about 1-1/2", the back inside of the vagina at twelve o'clock, around the outside edge of the cervix, the space between the vagina and anus on women and the balls and anus on men. Does the man like his balls squeezed, held, pulled, or not touched at all?
It is estimated that over 15,467,450 people will have HIV infections or AIDS in 1992. The estimate for 1995 is 26,146,400. Worldwide, the most frequent route of transmission is by heterosexual contact.
HIV is a virus transmitted through blood to blood or semen to blood contact. It can be transmitted through vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, sharing needles during drug use and possibly oral sex. Risk is increased depending on the number of partners you have. Current recommendations are to treat all new partners as if they had AIDS and practice safe sex. Many people can not tell you their sex history because they really do not have accurate information about their other partners.
Using latex condoms during intercourse and latex barriers during oral sex helps to prevent the transmission of AIDS. Natural skin condoms are NOT SAFE. Use water-based lubricants with latex condoms. Oil based lubricants can cause the condoms to deteriorate and break.
Open sores, lesions, abrasions or cuts increase the chance of getting AIDS if you are exposed because they provide an entry point for the virus. Engaging in sex play is even more dangerous if one or both partners has herpes or other disease-related sores, cuts, or abrasions. Kathryn Anastos, MD reported that women are 18.7 times more likely than men to get AIDS during heterosexual intercourse. One half of all adolescent females that have AIDS got it through intercourse.
Tests for AIDS actually test to see if antibodies for the HIV virus are present. The antibodies indicate that the person has been exposed to the virus. There is also an expensive test that tests for the actual virus itself. The antibodies develop within 6 months after exposure. People everywhere are taking precautions to decrease their chances of exposure to AIDS. Use of Nonoxynol 9 is high on the list. Is it a savior or a risk in disguise?
What is known about Nonoxynol 9, a chemical used in spermicides, is that it kills the AIDS virus in test tubes. It also kills lots of other viruses and bacteria as well as sperm. It is the primary ingredient in most spermicides used with diaphragms. Over the past few years it has been added to the lubricant packaged with condoms, vaginal lubricants and baby wipes.
Everyone has been promoting the use of Nonoxynol 9 with condoms to help reduce the chances of contracting AIDS. It made sense because it killed the virus in the test tube and its use had been shown to reduce the chances of contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia. A study published in the July 22/29, 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that Nonoxynol 9 may actually increase your chances of contracting AIDS. The following explains their findings. At the end there are some points you should read because the nature of this study may mean that the findings possibly would not apply to the average person.
A study was done with prostitutes in Nairobi, Kenya. All these women were likely to be exposed to AIDS. At the clinic where the study was done, they sampled the blood of 1300 women who had been to the clinic. 85% of the 1300 were HIV positive.
The study was conducted from January 1987 to June 1990. A group of women who were negative for HIV and who were prostitutes were chosen to be in the study. Part of the group used commercially available sponges containing Nonoxynol 9 each time they had intercourse while the other part of the group used placebos. By the end of the study 45% of the women in the Nonoxynol 9 group had become HIV positive while only 36% of the women in the placebo group had become HIV positive. This is a statistically significant number. Nonoxynol 9 usage apparently increased the risk of getting AIDS. How is this possible?
As many of us know from experience, Nonoxynol 9 can cause irritation, burning and ulceration of the genitals. 47% of the Nonoxynol 9 group reported these problems and only 7% of the placebo group.
Even though the Nonoxynol 9 group had a lower rate of gonorrhea infections, they contracted the HIV virus more often. There was a 3.3-fold increase in vulvitis and genital ulcers with the Nonoxynol 9 sponge group and increased incidence of yeast infections. Genital ulceration in women and men is thought to be an important factor in the transmission of AIDS. So, it seems reasonable that these women contracted the HIV virus more often than the placebo group because they had more genital ulcers and thus more places where the virus could enter their bodies and infect them. For these women, Nonoxynol 9 seems to have actually increased their risk of getting AIDS.
The women in these studies were carefully instructed on use of the sponge and they were instructed repeatedly on each return visit in Swahili. Both groups were told to use condoms. Approximately 60% of their sexual contacts were with condoms. There was an 81% compliance rate with using the sponge. No women reported practicing anal intercourse or oral sex. They averaged 34 sex partners per week.
Would Nonoxynol 9 increase your risk of contracting AIDS? The answer is not clear. The editorials in JAMA stated that there are no published studies that show spermicides used without condoms protect against HIV infection. Test tube studies can not predict effectiveness in actual use. The way the Nonoxynol 9 is distributed in the vagina and the strength of the Nonoxynol 9 used plus the extent to which it is diluted by other fluids would be factors to be considered.
Creams, gels, foams and suppositories with Nonoxynol 9 were not studied. The women in the study had lots of partners and used the Nonoxynol 9 sponges for many more hours during the week than the average woman would. This group of women was also exposed to lots of sexually transmitted diseases that could increase their chances of contracting the HIV virus. The use of the sponges reported by the women could have been inaccurate, except that they did have a 60% reduced risk of gonorrhea.
If you are among the people that do react to Nonoxynol 9 (that is, get irritation and ulcerations from it) you may want to reconsider its use. Is a little bit effective but a lot dangerous? Who knows? The final answer is yet to come. But, certainly, get the JAMA article and read it for yourself. It is on pages 477 to 482 of Vol. 268, No. 4, July 22/29, 1992.
Diseases that can be transmitted sexually include: AIDS, bacterial vaginosis (bacteroides, gardnerella vaginalis, mobiluncus spp., mycoplasma hominis, ureaplasma urealyticum), chancroid (haemophilus ducreyi), chlamydia trachomatis, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis A virus, entamoeba histolytica (protozoan), giardia lamblia (protozoan), genital herpes, genital warts (human papillomavirus), gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale Donovanosis (calymmatobacterium granulomatis), group B streptococcal infections, leukemia/myelopathy (HTLV-I and II), molluscum contagiosum virus, pubic lice, scabies, syphilis, trichomoniasis, yeast infections (candida albicans and possibly others), and Hepatitis B, C and D viruses.
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