Alt.sex FAQ


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The Alt.Sex FAQ

Introduction and Table of Contents

This edition of the alt.sex FAQ was written in the early part of 1994 by the last Alt.sex FAQ Committee. They reflect the best wisdom and knowledge of all the participants on the committee at that time.

Since those days, however, alt.sex has been overrun by advertising spam of such unbelievable volume that nobody asks questions anymore. There are no "frequently asked questions" on the newsgroup and maintaining an FAQ for it, especially one of the considerable quality found here, is simply not worthwhile or even honest.

Consider this a historical document. It reflects alt.sex as it existed in its finest, most golden years. Some sections will never be out of date; it's hard to imagine good advice on oral sex or virginity or even buying a great sex toy ever going out of style. Anatomy doesn't change although our understanding of it might. Some sections, however, are dreadfully out of date; The sections on Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Legal Issues, even Terms and Acronyms have fallen far behind the times. For lists of current resources, Yahoo might be a better place to start.


Elf Sternberg <elf@halcyon.com>

Alt.sex: User's Manual

Policies and guidelines

Posting ettiquete

In theory, there are no policies and guidelines for using alt.sex. It is an unmoderated alt group, and therefore nobody exerts any control at all over it. It exists at the whim of the people who post to it.

Alt.sex will only remain a reasonably "civil" place if you want it to. Sexuality is always a touchy subject, and when someone wishes to discuss their own sexuality, please do not immediately flame them if their tastes don't match yours. Do as Emily Postnews recommends: stand up, take a deep breath, and relax. If you must reply, consider using the mail first.

Posting stories

There has always been some debate as to whether or not posting stories on alt.sex is appropriate. Prior to the creation of alt.sex.stories, alt.sex was the only place find and post erotica. There are two camps of thought: one, that alt.sex.stories is a place for people who are looking only for stories, but that posting them to alt.sex is fine, and two, that alt.sex.stories is intended to remove all stories from alt.sex.

Alt.sex is a general-purpose newsgroup for sexual discussion. Posting of stories isn't disallowed, although you may encounter strong discouragment from some quarters if you do.

Posting erotic pictures

Don't. Just don't. Unlike stories, pornographic pictures are strictly forbidden from alt.sex. There are newsgroups appropriate to the posting of binaries, including the alt.pictures.binaries.erotica newsgroups. The reasons are simple: Although a picture may tell a thousand words, even using JPEG they take up a lot more disk space. So don't. If you insist on posting pictures to alt.sex, odds are the volume of complaint mail to your sysadmin will reach deafening proportions, and in the meantime you may well encourage some sysadmins to remove a newsgroup they're already uncomfortable with.

That said, there are some images permitted even here. In the era of the Information Superhighway, small images (less than 320x200 pixels, for example) of contraceptive devices and other objects will go a long way towards eradicating the well-meaning but still crude attempts of ASCII artists. Future editions of the FAQ will include small B&W GIFS of a condom, diaphragm, sponge, female condom, and related materials, barring any major objections.

Sending email to women readers of alt.sex.
"Wannafucks"

Probably the most common complaints heard on alt.sex are: From men: "There aren't enough women on here!" From women: "Every time I post, I get a ton of email from clueless net geeks looking to get laid!" We hope you see the connection. The 'Wannafuck' (as in "Your post sounded really hot. Wanna get together and fuck?") seems to be endemic to alt.sex.

Before you write any email, think about what you're going to say. Don't say something you wouldn't say in person. Just because a woman admits she likes sex doesn't mean she wants to have it with you, and you shouldn't assume otherwise. Making alt.sex a safe place for men and women should be a top priority of anyone who wants to talk about sex in an honest and open manner.

Accessing the FAQ

First of all, look for it in alt.sex, news.answers, alt.answers

If you can't find it there, you can find the (hopefully) latest version via ftp at:

ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt-sex

If you can't do or don't know about ftp: there's also a mail server on that machine. Just send an e-mail message to:

mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu
containing the word "help" in the body of the message.

The alt.sex FAQ is also available via gopher and the WWW at the following locations:


Where to find items of common interest.

Where to find sexually-oriented fiction on the Internet.

If you are just looking for stories in general, check the newsgroups alt.sex.stories and rec.arts.erotica FIRST. Many stories are also cross-posted to alt.sex.

As for story archives, well, there used to be a few. Unfortunately, due to misuse by people, they are no longer around. In this section we used to mention a couple but they both shut down for the same reasons: irresponsible, immature, and greedy users over-used their services. When people misuse a service offered to them that service generally shuts down.

Therefore, there are currently no known ftp sites for stories or rec.arts.erotica. If any site ever dares to try to set up a ftp story archive again people should definitely learn to respect the system that is offering the archive and respect the wishes of the archive's maintainers.

There is a mail-server for alt.sex.bondage and alt.sex.stories right now, but that service won't last long if it is misused. Don't try to get the whole archive in one night! The easiest way to use the mail-server is to read the rest of this section and then send email to server@hermes.acm.rpi.edu with the word help as the first and only word in the body of the message and no subject. Scanning the subject line will be discontinued.

The server administrator is currently over a year behind in moving stories into the server. He is (or will be) including alt.sex.bondage, alt.sex.stories, and rec.arts.erotica. He is archiving stories and articles that he believes to be of general interest.

Anonymous ftp is not available to this machine and is NOT planned. If you have any questions or problems with the server, send email to server-admin@hermes.acm.rpi.edu. If you have trouble getting email to that address, try multics%acm.rpi.edu@rpi.edu.

Privacy/system logs: The server logs all incoming requests and all responses. This information is retained for a few days before being deleted. I normally check the logs at least once a day to try and find any server bugs/problems as early as possible. I don't care who you are or where you are unless you are extremely greedy in accessing the server.

Where to find sexually-oriented images on the Internet.

The newsgroups of the alt.binaries.pictures.* (like a.b.p.erotica) are your best bet for X- and R-rated GIFs and binary pictures in other formats. For pictures more along the line of swimsuit models, check out wuarchive.wustl.edu via anonymous FTP, in graphics/gif. The images are arranged alphabetically. Don't abuse the ftp service or it won't be here next month.

Also in alt.binaries.pictures.erotica are often binary movies in various formats. Read the alt.binaries.pictures.* FAQs for more info. Due to the nature of Usenet, most pictures come in an UUENCODED format as well, and how to decode such pictures is also covered in the alt.binaries.pictures FAQ.

There is also a list of BBS' containing adult GIF files. The list is posted to alt.bbs.lists and alt.sex periodically. There are several hundred BBS' listed.

Where to find purity tests

"Purity tests" are various text documents floating about the Internet intended to test how pure and innocent, or conversly, how feelthy-minded and perverse, you are. There are many versions, and this FAQ used to list all of them. However, with the growth of Internet resources it's become impossible to track them, and the FAQ can only recommend that you read a few of them and enjoy them.

If you have access to FTP, Gopher, or the World Wide Web, the purity tests can be found at the following locations:

The editor of the FAQ personally prefers the 500 question Yale/Dartmouth Purity Test as being the most comprehensive without being too repetitive. No one purity test can cover everything or satisfy everybody. A recent addition to the Purity Test collection is Sonja E. Kuepper's Purity Test Page. Check it out!

Signature codes

Signature codes are those funny strings of characters frequently found in people's Usenet .sigs which look sort-of like a PGP code gone berserk. There are several "codes," the most popular of which are listed below.


Definitions of Commonly Used Words and Acronyms on alt.sex

Common Terms

analingus
stimulation of the anus with the mouth
areola
the dark ring of skin surrounding the nipple
bestiality
sex with animals
bisexual
a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to both sexes
blue balls
see question c4-6
circumcision
the surgical procedure of removing the foreskin
clitoris
the most sensitive external female sex organ, located near the top of the vulva.
condom
a sheath of latex, plastic, or animal skin worn over the penis to prevent sperm ejaculating into the vagina to prevent pregnancy or the transmission of disease.
cunnilingus
stimulation of the vulva with the mouth
dental dam
a piece of latex placed over the vulva during cunnilingus to protect both partners from STDs
diaphragm
a dome-shaped cap of rubber designed to cover the cervical opening and prevent sperm from entering the cervix
dildo
an artificial penis used in sexual activity.
felching
consuming the resultant semen after anal sex.
fellatio
stimulation of the penis with the mouth
fisting
inserting a whole hand into either the vagina or the anus
foreskin
skin covering the head of the penis in uncircumsized men
frottage
sexual pleasure from rubbing against another person
gerbiling
the activity of Urban Legend status regarding the insertion of a gerbil or similarly-sized rodent into the anus
heterosexual
a person who is sexually or romantically attracted only to the opposite sex.
homosexual
a person who is sexually or romantically attracted only to the same sex
hymen
any tissue that partly or completely covers the vaginal opening
incest
sexual intercourse between closely related persons
IUD
intrauterine device, a method of birth control
labia
external folds of flesh of the vulva.
labia majora
the thicker, outside labia
labia minora
the inner labia
lesbian
a homosexual woman
mons
mound of flesh located above the vagina
obsex
Obligated Sexual Comment/Reference; inserted at the end of some posts which otherwise have very little to do with sex
prostitution
exchange of money for sexual favors
rape
sexual activity forced upon someone unwilling or unable to give consent
rimming
see analingus
safeword
the code phrase or word used in any sort of B&D/S&M activity that really means "Stop NOW."
sodomy
often simply refers to anal sex; however, the actual dictionary definition includes anything considered "unnatural or deviate sexual intercourse" which may include everything from oral sex to sex between partners of the same gender
swinging
consensual sex involving the exchange of marital partners for sexual purposes
transvestite
an individual who is sexually or emotionally stimulated or satisfied by dressing in clothing of the opposite sex
vibrator
an electrically driven machine that vibrates
vulva
collective term referring to a woman's external genitalia
water sports
sex involving urine or urination (also "scat", sex involving feces)
zoophilia
see bestiality

Common Acronyms

:) :-)
smiley, indicates humor or sarcasm (many variation exist)
69
mutual oral sex
ASB
alt.sex.bondage
ASW
alt.sex.wizards
ASS
alt.sex.stories
ASSD
alt.sex.stories.d
APBE
alt.pictures.binaries.erotica
B&D
bondage and discipline (consensual)
BDSM
Bondage/Discipline/Sadism/Masochism. Generic term.
BTW
by the way
D&S
Dominance and Submission
FAQ
frequently asked question
IMHO
in my humble/honest opinion
IMNSHO
in my not so humble opinion
LJBF
let's just be friends
MOTAS
member of the appropriate sex
MOTOS
member of the opposite sex
MOTSS
member of the same sex
S&M,S/M
sadism and masochism or sadomasochism
SO
significant other

The Sexual Anatomy Of Women

External View: The Vulva

(A) (B)

The Vulva is the external sexual organ of women. The above view (A) shows the external view of the female vulva as normally seen when the woman is standing up. View (B) shows the vulva when it is opened, and from the top down one can clearly see the Veneris Mons, clitoral hood, clitoris, and labia minora. There are many questions about the vulva on alt.sex, and this FAQ will begin to attempt to answer some of these.

The Vocabulary of the Vulva

Vulva
The external female genitals are collectively referred to as The Vulva. All of the words below are part of the vulva.

Mons Veneris.
The mons veneris, Latin for "hill of Venus" (Roman Goddess of love) is the pad of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone below the abdomen but above the labia. The mons is sexually sensitive in some women and protects the pubic bone from the impact of sexual intercourse.

Labia Majora
The labia majora are the outer lips of the vulva, pads of fatty tissue that wrap around the vulva from the mons to the perineum. These labia are usually covered with pubic hair, and contain numerous sweat and oil glands, and it has been suggested that the scent from these are sexually arousing.

Labia Minora
The labia minora are the inner lips of the vulva, thin stretches of tissue within the labia majora that fold and protect the vagina, urethra, and clitoris. The appearance of labia minora can vary widely, from tiny lips that hide between the labia majora to large lips that protrude. The most common metaphor for the labia minora is that of a flower. Both the inner and outer labia are quite sensitive to touch and pressure.

Clitoris
The clitoris, visible in picture (B) as the small white oval between the top of the labia minora and the clitoral hood, is a small body of spongy tissue that is highly sexually sensitive. The clitoris is protected by the prepuce, or clitoral hood, a covering of tissue similar to the labia minora. During sexual excitement, the clitoris may extend and the hood retract to make the clitoris more accessible. Some clitori are very small; other women may have large clitori that the hood does not completely cover.

Urethra
The opening to the urethra is just below the clitoris. It is not related to sex or reproduction, but is instead the passage for urine. The urethra is connected to the bladder. Because the urethra is so close to the anus, women should always wipe themselves from front to back to avoid infecting the vagina and urethra with bacteria.

Vagina and Hymen
(A) (B) (C) (D) (E)

The above illustrations show the area between the labia minora. From top to bottom can be clearly seen the clitoris, urethral opening, and vaginal opening. A, B, and C show vaginal openings with a normal hymen, a membrane that partially covers the opening. The hymen is the traditional "symbol" of virginity, although being a very thin membrane, it can be torn by vigorous exercise or the insertion of a tampon. Illustration D shows an imperforate hymen that completely closes the vagina; this rare condition requires surgical intervention to provide for a normal flow of blood once menstruation begins. Illustration E is of a vagina in a post-partum woman (one who has given birth).

Perineum
The perineum is the short stretch of skin starting at the bottom of the vulva and extending to the anus. The perineum in women often tears during birth to accomodate passage of the child, and this is apparently natural. Some physicians may cut the perineum preemptively on the grounds that the "tearing" may be more harmful than a precise scalpel, but statistics show that such cutting in fact may increase the potential for infection.


Female Internal Sexual Anatomy

Vagina
The vagina extends from the vaginal opening to the cervix, the opening to the uterus. The vagina serves as the receptacle for the penis during sexual intercourse, and as the birth canal through which the baby passes during labor. The average vaginal canal is three inches long, possibly four in women who have given birth. This may seem short in relation to the penis, but during sexual arousal the cervix will lift upwards and the fornix (see illustration) may extend upwards into the body as long as necessary to receive the penis. After intercourse, the contraction of the vagina will allow the cervix to rest inside the fornix, which in its relaxed state is a bowl-shaped fitting perfect for the pooling of semen.
At either side of the vaginal opening are the Bartholin's glands, which produce small amounts of lubricating fluid, apparently to keep the inner labia moist during periods of sexual excitement. Further within are the hymen glands, which secrete lubricant for the length of the vaginal canal.

"G-Spot"
The word is in quotes because there is still some debate as to the existance or purpose of the G- spot. In the illustration above, what is indicated as the g-spot in fact points to a region known as the Skenes glands, the purpose of which are unknown. Despite the controversy, one fact remains-- there are many women who claim that pressure on this region of the vagina is extremely pleasurable. Usually, two fingers are used, and because the spot is deep within the tissue, some pressure may be needed. Also, because the Skenes glands are alongside the bladder, some women may found that the increased pressure makes them feel as if they need to urinate.

Cervix
The cervix is the opening to the uterus. It varies in diameter from 1 to 3 millimeters, depending upon the time in the menstrual cycle the measurement is taken. The cervix is sometimes plugged with cervical mucous to protect the cervix from infection; during ovulation, this mucous becomes a thin fluid to permit the passage of sperm.

Uterus
The uterus, or womb, is the main female internal reproductive organ. The inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium, which grows and changes during the menstrual cycle to prepare to receive a fertilized egg, and sheds a layer at the end of every menstrual cycle if fertilization does not happen. The utereus is lined with powerful muscles to push the child out during labor.

Ovaries
The ovaries perform two functions: the production of estrogen and progesterone, the female sex hormones, and the production of mature ova, or eggs. At birth, the ovaries contain nearly 400,000 ova, and those are all she will ever have. However, that is far more than she will need, since during an average lifespan she will go through about 500 menstrual cycles. After maturing, the single egg travels down the fallopian tube, a journey of three or four days-- this is the period during which a woman is fertile and pregnancy may occur. Eggs that are not fertilized are expelled during menstruation.


Frequently Answered Questions

What is the G-Spot?

The Grafenberg spot, or G-spot, is an area located within the anterior (or front) wall of the vagina, about one centimetre from the surface and one-third to one-half way in from the vaginal opening (see illustration and text). It is reported to consist of a system of glands (Skene's glands) and ducts that surround the urethra (Heath, 1984). Some authors write that you must press "deeply" into the tissue with two fingers to reach it with any effectiveness.

The significance of the G-spot is that some women (about half) report that it is a highly sensitive area that under the right conditions can be very pleasurable if stimulated. For some women, it can be a primary source of stimulation leading to orgasm during intercourse. Other women report no particular stimulation, and some say that it feels as if they need to urinate.

The G-Spot has been linked to the phenomenon known as female ejaculation. To date, there is little data about female ejaculation, although there is some speculation that it is the product of the Skene's glands.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious illness which can occur in men, women and children. About half the number of cases reported are associated with using tampons and affect a tiny number of women every year-- only about 1 out of every 1.5 million women who have periods. TSS can occasionally be fatal.

Toxic Shock Syndrome can be treated successfully providing it is recognised quickly, and most young people make a full recovery. Younger people may more at risk from the bacteria which are believed to cause this rare condition, because their immune system may not be fully developed.

In the unlikely event that you have these symptoms during your period--a high fever (over 102F or 39C), rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, sore throat, dizziness or fainting - you must remove your tampon and consult your doctor immediately. These symptoms can be early warning signs of TSS, which can develop very quickly and may seem like flu to begin with.

Do not worry about wasting the doctor's time and remember to say you have been wearing a tampon. Do not use tampons again without checking first with your doctor.

By using tampons correctly and following the advice below, you will reduce the risk of developing TSS.

REMEMBER


The Sexual Anatomy Of Men

The Penis and Scrotum.

Male external genitalia

(A) (B) (C)

The penis and scrotum are the external sexual organs of men. There are many questions about the penis on alt.sex, and this FAQ will attempt to begin to answer some of them.

Vocabulary of the penis and scrotum


Male Internal Sexual Anatomy


Frequently answered questions

What's the average size of the penis? What are the extremes?

According to the book Mandens Krop (which is translated from English, but does not give the original title) the average is 15cm and 90% are between 13 and 18cm.
The records for a fully functional penis are 1.5cm and 30cm.

Is penis size important?

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions on alt.sex, and that's a shame, because it's really a pointless question. Penis size is important if and only if you think it is. If you have sex with men and you desire a large penis, then penis size is important to you, and only to you. If you feel your penis should be larger, then penis size is important to you, and only to you.
Many women report that too many men are hung up on the size of their penises. The vagina is only eight to thirteen centimeters long, and even a small penis can touch every square centimeter within the vagina.

Can penis size be increased?

Yes. There are two surgical procedures to increase penis size-- the Bihari Procedure, and Fat Injection.
The Bihari Procedure consists of cutting the ligament that secures the base of the penis to the body. This gives between one-half and two inches of increased length to the penis; however, because the penis is no longer anchored to the body an erection no longer points 'up.'
Fat Injection is the process of removing fat from the backs of the thighs and injecting it into the body of the penis to make the penis thicker. Because the body rejects a significant portion of the injection this procedure may need to be repeated several times and each operation carries with it a severe risk of infection.

How do I measure my penis?

According to Harold Reed, M.D., director of the Reed Centre for Ambulatory Urological Surgery in Bay Harbor, Florida, this is the correct way to measure the length of your penis:

First, while standing, get an erection. Okay, now gently angle your, er, equipment down until it is parallel to the floor. Set your ruler against your pubic bone just above the base of the penis, and measure to the tip. Thats how the doctors do it.

My penis bends down (or left, or right). Is there something wrong with it?

One-quarter of all penises bend in some direction and some bend downward even when erect. Unless the bend is severe or causes you pain, there is nothing wrong or abnormal about your penis. It should not interfere with sexual intercourse. Some people report that a downward-bending penis is easier to fellate.
In rare cases a condition called Peyrone's Syndrome can arise from childhood diseases. This condition is caused by scarring on one of the two corpora cavernosa within the penis, stunting its effectiveness during erection and causing the penis to bend almost 90 degrees in that direction. If you feel this may be the case, consult a urologist.

What is circumcision and why is it done?

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. When performed in a hospital, it is usually done shortly after birth by a doctor or midwife. Circumcisions are also given to Jewish boys by a mohel in a ceremony eight days after birth. Some Islamic boys are circumcised when they are older, around age 12. The majority of American boys are circumcised.
Common reasons for circumcision include: better hygiene, "normal" or "better" appearance, and "his penis should look like his father's." Common reasons against circumcision include: it is no longer necessary for hygienic reasons; it is a painful, barbaric practice; possibility of infection or surgical error; "normal" or "better" appearance; "his penis should look like his father's."; and "greater sensitivity of uncircumcised penis."

What are blue balls?

Blue Balls is a real condition! The "correct" term for blue balls is epididymitis, which is an inflammation of the epididymis.
In simple terms blue balls occurs when the epididymis get blocked up with sperm that have left the testis but not the penis. The vas deferns are the conduit for the sperm from the testis to the urethra. When they get blocked you get pain. Why blue balls and not "swollen balls," well maybe the connotation is that you balls have the "blues", or maybe its because with all that swelling some of the blood flow is restricted enough to cause some blueing of the area because of pooling blood.

Why is the prostate mentioned so often during discussions of anal sex?

The prostate is about the size of a walnut in a normal man, and is immediately behind the rectal wall about three centimeters inside the anus. It can be felt by placing one finger within the anus and feeling along the anterior wall for a round bulb. For some men, touching or rubbing this spot is extremely pleasurable; a rare few can even orgasm through this technique. Others report that the touch is painful or makes them feel as if they need to urinate.

The alt.sex FAQ on anal sex answers this question in more detail.


The Alt.sex FAQ: First Intercourse

For both partners:

How do I have "good" sex?

What follows is not a set of rules. Rules about sex are impossible-- what should matter is that what you do makes you feel good. And "feeling good" should last past the sex itself-- you should not feel anxious afterwards about getting her pregnant or catching some horrible disease, so planning ahead about contraception and safe sex is part of the idea.

What time should we have sex?

When you have sex doesn't really matter. What should matter instead is that you and your partner have sex when you are both comfortable. Some people prefer to make love at the break of dawn, some in the afternoon sun, some in the darkness of night. More important than time of day is the time you have to spend. Give yourself a lot of time to have sex the first time. A weekend is ideal, but at least the whole day, including sleep time.

Should we eat or drink anything before sex?

Avoid eating a heavy meal, since that'll just make you sleepy. Eat light, don't drink too much alcohol, if any at all. It may help you shed inhibitions, but it may also make his erection much more difficult to achieve and you want to spend more time in the bedroom than the bathroom anyway, right?

Where should we have sex?

Where you have sex is probably a more important decision. Finding a place where you both can be private for up to forty-eight hours can be difficult at that age where most people are planning on losing their virginity. But it's worth it. Cars are no longer big enough to have sex in, and the outdoors has less privacy, bugs, sand, and pine needles.
A bed is probably the best thing to make love in, still. Hopefully you'll have a room to yourself, with all the amenities that a bedroom affords, including heat, comfort, space, and the bathroom. Take a shower together! If you're about to have sex, you've probably had your hands all over each other before now. Get to know each other's bodies. Take your time. That's what lovemaking is about.

What do we need to bring?

Bring what you need to make you comfortable. Birth control, condoms, maybe your favorite pillow or a bathrobe.

For her:

What do I do first?

You can't expect him to know what makes you feel good. You'll have to tell him or show him, and that may mean taking some of the initiative, taking his hands and placing them where they make you feel good. Go slow. If it's his first time, he may well be totally nervous about what you're about to do, and his penis may not respond at first. Patience, gentleness, and understanding are required to bring it back to life, and that may be hard for you to achieve, but that's why we told you to give yourselves lots of time.

Will it hurt?

You have probably heard horror stories about how much losing your virginity hurts. For a few women, it does, but with the right touch and the right partner, you should be able to take his penis into your body without pain. Have him take his time, use a lubricant, and press his fingers into you, opening you up slowly. Tell him when it feels good and when it hurts.

What position should I use?

Many women prefer to have sex the first time being on top, where they can control the first entry. Others want to be on the bottom and give their lovers that control. Choose what's best for you. Just remember to tell him to go slow, take your time, and if you feel the need, use a commercial lubricant like KY Jelly.

For him:

What if I can't get it up?

It may sound funny, but your penis, which has worked great for years, may suddenly go on strike at your first chance at "real" sex. That's natural-- you're nervous. Take a deep breath. Do something else for a while with your hands, your lips and your tongue. Try to forget about your anxiety, and your penis will respond. It's only a temporary thing.

Should I tell her if I'm a virgin?

Many men think that because they're men, they should be in charge of the sex, regardless of who has the more experience. If you're a virgin and she's not, tell her, and let her lead if she wishes. This is as much a learning experience as a loving one. Don't be afraid to confess the truth. A lot of women would rather know that your fumbling is inexperience, rather than just sheer ineptitude, and will gratefully show you the ways of the world.

Will we come at the same time?

Don't worry about making orgasm simultaneous, either. Some women do not orgasm during intercourse, and even if your girlfriend is capable of climax, the odds are very much against you coming at the same time. Enjoy yourself, and rely on her to tell you the truth when she's enjoying herself.

What if I orgasm too soon?

If you actually climax much too soon before you wanted to, take your time, take a nap, and try again. The second time you should be much more relaxed and ready to take your time-- so will your penis.

Am I big enough? Too big? The right shape?

Another common concern is size. The average penis is slightly more than five and a half inches in length when erect, and that's more than enough to hit every major nerve center in the vagina, the legendary G-spot included. The vagina is capable of stretching to take a large penis, or shape itself to pleasure a small one. Size has very little to do with your ability as a lover.
Another common issue is shape. Some men become concerned because their penis bends downwards, or to the left, and assume that because they never see men like them in erotic movies that they're not normal. Others worry that a downward bend will make sex difficult or painful because the vagina isn't shaped with that bend in mind.
Keep in mind that sex can be performed in any number of positions. The penis and vagina can be matched in many different ways, and each new position can bring new pleasures to you and your partner. Some people believe that a downward-bending penis is much easier to perform oral sex upon.

Will I be a good lover?

Being a good lover doesn't happen automatically. With the right partner, time, care, and practice, you have everything you need to become a great lover. Your first times, for both you, will be fumbling and awkward, but hopefully they'll be the start of great times for the rest of your lives.


The Alt.sex FAQ: Better Sex!

It is perhaps a shame that while we live in one of the most advanced cultures in the world and yet know so little about how to make each other happy in that most human of all endeavors, sex. With a few small additions to your sexual vocabulary you can break out of boredom and lead happier, more satisfying sex lives. Here in this FAQ we'll look at three important additions to one's sex life: position, time, and location.

Sexual Positions

Man on top.

Everybody starts out in this so-called "missionary position": man on top, woman on the bottom, face-to-face. It's where we were when most of us lost our virginity. This position gets a lot of bad press these days because it's "old-fashioned," or perhaps because it's "patriarchal." Actually, there's nothing wrong with this position; it affords excellent support for thrusting, close intimate contact between lovers, and is an ideal position for conception. The woman may lie with her legs spread wide and to the sides, or may draw them up to her chest. In either position, the man cannot reach her vulva for manual stimulation although in the first he can reach her breasts.
A variation on this position is for the woman to sit in a chair or on the edge of a low bed, thus allowing the man to kneel on the floor for thrusting. For heavyset men it can reduce the weight he places upon his partner, and allows for both partners to reach their genitals. Although technically regarded as "superior" to traditional missionary position by many sex therapists, most people who actually have sex feel this position is less "intimate."
A third variant of man-on-top is one in which the woman lies on her stomach and the man penetrates her from behind. For many women, this position can stimulate the G-spot; however, it can also cause the penis to strike the cervix, causing pain. While this position has many of the disadvantages of any position where two people are not face-to-face, it is still popular with some couples.

Woman on top.

This position is highly recommended in the few "how to lose your virginity" manuals still lying around, mostly because it allows the woman to fully control the speed at which sex occurs. There are several different positions classified as "woman on top." The most common is that she straddles his hips, taking his penis inside her, and then lies atop him, either with her legs bent or stretched out. She may also choose to just sit straight up atop him, sliding up and down; this position is both visually stimulating for the man and allows him to play with her breasts freely.
Occassionally in adult movies one may see this position done with the woman facing away from her partner. While the sensations giving to both partners in this position are very different and may be very stimulating, most people feel the loss of intimacy involved is not worth the difference.

Sitting.

This position is for sex in slow motion; the angles are all wrong for any sort of vigorous thrusting. The man sits in a chair or cross-legged on the floor while the woman sits astride him, usually face-to-face although it can work equally well if she faces away. This position is good for caressing and intimacy. Some people recommend rocking chairs for this position.

Standing.

Reminiscent of "quickies" and illicit sex in alleyways, standing is actually one of the more complicated positions to achieve, at least face-to-face. Insertion can be difficult; standing, the vagina is not tilted forward for easy access. Since women are on average shorter than their male partners this position may require a short footstool or convenient staircase step to make it possible. At any rate, someone may want a friendly wall to hold both of them up during this act.
Another variant of standing is similar to the third one in man- on-top; the woman faces the wall or bookcase or whatever she's using to hold herself up and the man penetrates her vagina from behind. This position is considerably easier than face-to-face standing, and many people like it for it's "naughty" or "illicit" connotations.

Side-by-side

These positions all mirror the "on top" positions, except that the partners now lie on their sides on the bed. They can be achieved face-to-face, at an angle or from behind. The one difficulty with this position face-to-face is that someone has to rest their leg atop their partners; after only a few minutes this sometimes causes cramping and pain. Done when the woman faces away from the man, it can be slow, relaxing; one can almost fall asleep comfortably like this. In this position, it is known as "spooning." (The term applies mostly to the act of sleeping in that position, not necessarily the act of sex.)

Rear-entry

Although several positions already described can also be covered under this term, most people use this term to describe the position in which the woman kneels on her hands and knees while the man enters her from behind. Some people strongly dislike this position because of the lack of intimacy and the suggestion of male "dominance"; others like it for the freedom and strength that can be employed during the act of intercourse. The term "doggy style" has been employed to describe this position in the past, although this descriptive is inaccurate at best.

Time

When should we have sex?

When you have sex is a decision you will start to make only after you've gotten through the initial "all the time!" stage. Eventually, though, any person will develop a habit of making love with a certain pattern. Acquiring that pattern is the start of boredom; breaking that pattern can be the road to a new discovery.
If you and your partner are prone to making love only at night, try it for breakfast instead. Run home during lunch for a quickie. No time is more significant to lovemaking than any other, except that the time be good for both you and your partner.

Location

Where should we have sex?

In bed, to start with. Seriously, there is no "better" place to make love than a bed. It's designed to hold people lying down; it's even designed for them to be a little rambunctious.
However, like time of day, location can become boring with repetition. Moving your sex life into a different room can be as much of a change as night and day. For starters, try the living room; most have a couch. Spread a blanket on the floor, start a fire in the fireplace if you have one, feed each other small, intimate snacks like grapes and champagne, and enjoy. A quickie on the kitchen floor (so popular since Indecent Proposal) can be fun as well.

What about the shower?

The shower, as well as the swimming pool, have their disadvantages. For one thing, lubricant doesn't last very long in environments of such overwhelming volumes of water. For another, usually the only position available is standing, with all of the attendant problems of differences in height. Another common problem is that the floor of most bathtubs is very slippery, especially if you spill lubricant on it! However, it's frequently the only place other than the bedroom where both of you are likely to be comfortable and naked, especially in winter. Don't let all the "problems" listed here stop you from trying out what could become one of your favorite places to make love.

And outdoors?

Having sex outdoors has its own challenges and rewards. Many people feel that sex outdoors is closer to nature; others feel it is more illicit, "in full view of the whole sky." If you're going to have sex outdoors in any position other than standing, plan ahead of time to bring a blanket. Avoid using bug spray and sun block until afterwards-- both taste awful. On the other hand, sunburns on your genitals can be excrutiating; take care.

Caveat lover...

Having sex in strange places is a turn-on for many. How strange a place you want to make love is a matter of some concern of course, since outside of the privacy of your own home, having sex in full view is likely to arouse the interest of the local constabulary. Getting arrested for public indecency is likely to catch the attention of your employer as well. Plan any such dalliances in advance and scope out your intended rendezvous point for possible problems, interruptions, and routes of escape if necessary. And whatever you do, put your used condoms and wrappers in the trash can; stopping litter isn't just good citizenship, here's it's a matter of sheer good taste.


Cunnilingus - Oral sex upon a vulva

What is cunnilingus?

Cunnilingus is the fine art of making love to a vagina with your mouth and tongue. It is a delicate skill, requiring patience, practice, and dedication to get it right, but any woman you learn to do it right for will appreciate you all the more for it.

What applies to the penis applies to the vulva-- every one is different, requiring a different touch to make its owner happy. But few tools can equal the tongue for the amount of pleasure it can deliver to a happy vagina.

This article assumes that you know what a vulva looks like and can identify with some precision the mons veneris, labia majora, clitoral hood, clitoris, labia minora, urethra, vagina, and perineum, to name them (approximately) from top to bottom.

How fast should I go?

This isn't an attack. Don't go after the clitoris like a fireman attacking a fire. Quite often at first, the clitoris is far too sensitive for direct stimulation. Lick around it, stimulating the hood, teasing her inner labia, tasting her. Take your time and listen to her. Some women make noise, and some do not. It will be a while before you learn exactly what your lover prefers as far as oral sex is concerned.
Some women may like additional stimulation-- a finger or two into the vagina, or perhaps even the anus. She may want your hands to reach up and play with her breasts, or she may want your fingers to hold her labia apart so that your tongue can get at her vulva more directly.

I've heard cunnilingus doesn't taste good.

If the taste or smell bothers you or is a concern, ask her to wash first. Most people who enjoy cunnilingus agree that a clean vagina is a good, if acquired, taste.
As a woman nears her climax, she may want more direct stimulation. In general, fast, rhythmic stimulation is most effective at causing climax-- but there shouldn't be a rush to get there. Take your time and learn to appreciate what you can do for her.

What about cunnilingus during menstruation?

Some people are particularly turned off at the suggestion of cunnilingus during menstruation. If it is a concern to you, then wait. A tampon may well hold the blood back, as will a diaphragm, but some men can't stand the taste anyway. If your partner is healthy, however, there is no particular danger in menstrual blood, and some women find that orgasms during their periods allievate cramps.


Fellatio - Oral sex upon a penis

What is Fellatio?

Fellatio, giving head, giving a blow-job. Many men love this kind of stimulation, and many people, both women and men, like giving it. Fellatio is the act of applying your lips to a man's penis with the purpose of giving him pleasure.
There are few tips to fellatio that can be given other than practice. The lips and the tongue are the major sources of stimulation, and it is with the lips and tongue that you should apply the attention to make him feel good. Both men and women respond well to pressure and rhythm. A steady, strong stroke will be enough to get the reaction you're looking for.

What if it doesn't smell or taste good?

If the smell isn't something you enjoy, then tell him to go take a shower! While this is something you're doing primarily for his pleasure, that doesn't mean you have to suffer if he's lacking in hygiene! And if you're worried about germs, your mouth has millions more germs than a clean penis.

What is "deep throating?"

Deep throating is the act of taking the penis down past your gag reflex. In reality, this particular sexual adventure is very overrated. The best way to give fellatio is still with the lips and tongue, taking only as much as you can without gagging. However, for those that want to know, the basic lesson is still practice. Take the penis as far as you can without choking, and then close your eyes and concentrate, taking each quarter inch, telling yourself that you won't choke, that you can take it out at any time, and slowly swallow it down. Then rise off of it just as slowly.

Are there any special spots on the penis?

Every penis is different, and each has its sensitive spots and its preferred ways of being handled. Listen to your lover. The sounds he makes and the feel of his body tensing are your best clues that you're going this right.

Should I use my hands?

Feel free to grasp with your hands whatever of the penis you can't fit into your mouth. Many men like as much stimulation as possible, and the feel of a wet mouth and a saliva-slicked hand are enough to send them to the brink of orgasm very quickly.

What is 69?

Some people feel that the best position to perform oral sex is the 69 position, where each partner lies with their head by the other's genitals. For fellatio, this even makes sense-- most penises curve upwards, towards the head, and in this position that curve matches the curve of the throat. However, it is difficult to both perform and appreciate oral sex at the same time. Try the position, or kneel by his body, but at least in the beginning do one thing at a time.

My boyfriend wants me to swallow. What do I do?

Which brings us to a sensitive issue: swallowing ejaculate. For many men, this is important to them-- they like to feel that by swallowing their semen, you complete this act of lovemaking and accept a part of themselves into your body. But many people don't like the taste of semen and can't bring themselves. Talk about this beforehand-- let him know if you can't handle it, and that it's not personal.

Can I make my seminal fluids taste better?

Macrobiotic nutritionists have actually done research on this question, and the answer is in: you are what you eat. Common sense dictates that if you taste good, your lover will want to eat you more often, so improving your body's taste and smell should be important to you.
In general, nutritionsists say that alkaline-based foods such as meats and fish produce a butter, fish taste. Dairy products, which contain a high bacterial putrefaction level create the foulest tasting fluids by far. (Dissent: almost everyone I know says that there is one worse than a high-dairy content-- asparagus. You can't miss the taste of asparagus-laced semen.) Acidic fruits, such as sweets, fruits, and alcohol give bodily fluids a pleasant, sugary flavor. Chemically processed liquors will cause an extremely acidic taste, however, so if you're going to drink alcohol, drink high-quality, naturally fermented beers (Rolling Rock or Kirin) or sake.

What are the contents of semen?

The question of semen content arises especially among persons who regularly swallow semen, as in fellatio, and who are concerned about calorie intake and nutritional substances. The average ejaculate contains aboutonia, ascorbic acid, blood-group antigens, calcium, chlorine, cholesterol, choline, citric acid, creatine, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), fructose, glutathione, hyaluronidase, inositol, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, purine, pyrimidine, pyruvic acid, sodium, sorbitol, spermidine, spermine, urea, uric acid, vitamin B12, and zinc.
The caloric content of an average ejaculate is estimated to be approximately 15 calories.

A last word.

There is only one true way to do fellatio, and that's with enthusiasm. You have to love what you're doing to him, either because you love him or you love sucking cock. Loving both is best! Faked orgasms have nothing on lackluster fellatio.


Anal Intercourse and Analingus

Why would anyone want to have anal sex?

For many people, anal sex is the ultimate taboo. Buttfucking makes it sound crude and dirty, sodomy sounds technical. In the 1990's, anal sex has been given the bad rap because HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is most easily transmitted by anal intercourse.
But some people love anal sex. Others hate it. Others haven't tried it yet and are curious. And many people are attracted to it precisely because it's so taboo and mysterious.

What is analingus?

One other part of the body that some people enjoy licking, or having licked, is the anus. The anus has half the nerve endings in the pelvic region and many people find touching it to be sexually arousing. Although we haven't mentioned safer sex yet as part of this series, we will here: the anus and rectum carry many diseases that live quite benignly in your lower digestive tract, but which can be harmful in your mouth or stomach. Performing anilingus is a very risky behavior for a variety of bacterial infections. Refer to the section on safer sex techniques for ways to protect yourself if you or your partner enjoys this activity.

Does anal sex hurt?

Anal sex should not hurt. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong. With enough lubricant and enough patience, it's entirely possible to enjoy anal sex as a safe and fulfilling part of your sex life. However, some people may never like it, and if your lover is one of those people, respect their limits. Don't force the idea upon them.

Can anal sex actually give pleasure?

The pleasure of anal sex is derived from many things. Doing something "nasty" appeals to many people, especially about sex. Doing something different to spice up a sex life that has become something of a bore can be part of it. And the physical sensations available during anal sex are uniquely different from anything else. The rectum is lined with nerve endings, some of which signal the brain to 'reward' you with good feelings when stimulated. For men, the prostate gland can be a source of powerful pleasure. And for a thrusting penis, the ring of the anus can be a new and strong sensation to enjoy.

What do I need to have anal sex?

The most important pieces of advice anyone can give on anal sex are: lubricants, condoms, and patience. The most commonly available lubricant is KY-Jelly, a greaseless, odorless substance available at most drug stores. Better lubricants include Astroglide, ID, Wet, or ForePlay, some of which are available at better drug stores, and most of which are available in some form at adult toy stores.
Do not buy anything that is oil-based. Make sure the lubricant you buy is rated "condom compatible." Nothing else will do. Oil- based lubricants such as vaseline or baby oil will destroy a condom long before you're done having sex. And many oil-based sub- stances will coat the lining of the rectum, providing a haven for many potential infections.

Do I have to use a condom?

Even if you're sure that both you and your partner are disease- free, you should still use a condom. The rectum is home to lots of infectious bacteria that can cause burning and urethritis of the penis. It will also help you clean up afterwards.

I'm worried that anal sex will be messy.

Anal sex should not be messy. Most first-timers fear that it will be, but most people can tell when they have to go. A condom will help with cleanup, of course, and if you're really concerned, a commercial enema, like Fleet, will help beforehand.

How do we prepare for anal sex?

Patience is the third and final thing you need to make anal sex possible. Initial penetration is always the most difficult part of anal sex-- the anus is a tight ring of flesh at the opening of the rectum designed to control the elimination of bodily waste. It is partially under voluntary control, and partially reflexive to stimulation. Your partner has to relax, and you have to go slow to coax it into opening enough to recieve your penis.
Start with a well-lubricated finger or a slim (smaller than your penis) dildo. The dildo is more realistic, but your fingers can flex and feel what they're doing inside her ass. Slide one finger in slowly, letting her adjust to it. Take your finger all the way out, then push it back in again. Give her anus time to get used to this kind of activity. Then slide a second finger in. Consider how big your penis is and realize that two fingers is probably enough.

What position should we use for anal sex?

For actual intercourse, picking a position can be important. Many women want to be on top, to regulate how fast penetration occurs. Other like to lie on their stomachs, or crouch doggy-style, or to be penetrated while lying on their sides. Choose what's best before you start.
As always, control yourself. Take your time and use lots of lubricant. People who like anal sex say that "too much lube is almost enough." Listen to her-- if she tells you it starts to hurt, back off.
Eventually, a time will come during your lovemaking where her anus will relax enough to allow the head of your cock to 'pop' into her. If she is completely relaxed, that pop should feel completely painless. Now just because you're inside her is no reason to start pounding away like mad. Let her body adjust. Take your time. Eventually you will both be ready for more.

Can I get pregnant from anal sex?

It is not technically possible to get pregnant from anal sex; there is no way for semen to get from the rectal tract to the vaginal tract.
However, anal sex is still not a very good method of birth control. Semen leaking from the anus after intercourse may drip across the perineum (the short stretch of skin separating vulva and anus) and cause what is known as a 'splash' conception. The failure rate for this is surprisingly high! 8% of couples of who use anal sex as a method of birth control have babies each year.

What if I don't like it?

You may find that anal sex just isn't for you. That's fine. Nothing says that you have to indulge in something that doesn't make you feel good.


Toys for the Bedroom (And Other Places)

What is a "sex toy?"

In theory, almost anything can take the role of a "sex toy." Other than two human bodies, anything else introduced into sex play qualifies as either prophylaxis (contraception and disease prevention) or recreation, i.e., a toy. For our purposes, a sex toy is any object brought into sex play to enhance the pleasure of both people involved.

There was some debate as to the question "what is a sex toy?" for the purposes of this FAQ. Some argued that this FAQ should cover those items that are only specifically for sex, whereas others rightly pointed out that that would exclude from discussion some very popular forms of sexual enhancement such as lingere' or food. For our purposes, a sex toy will be anything that is either specifically intended for sexual enhancement or commonly used for same. We're sure there are people out there that find mountain goats, hand puppets, and Un*x System Administration manuals suitable for sexual enhancement, but that's not "common."

THE VIBRATOR.

What kinds of vibrators are there?

Vibrators come in three distinct 'types'. Many women find satisfaction in this most common (and more often thought of), the classic penis-shaped, battery powered shaft of plastic. These suffer, however, from a lack of real power and inconvenient battery death.

The second type of vibrator, the 'wand' vibrator, overcomes these problems with wall current. These large, club-shaped vibrators provide LOTS of stimulation, and wall current provides all the power you could ask for, but the designers apparently intended for people not to view these things as sex toys, but as "personal massagers," and the ungainliness of these things reflects that.

The third type of vibrator, the 'handle' or 'coil' type, looks vaguely like a small hairdryer with a small, perpendicular shaft out of the thicker end to accommodate a variety of soft plastic or latex heads. The best of all possible worlds, these vibrators never die, fit in one hand, and can provide a variety of sensations.

Shower Massagers make a wonderful variation on the classic vibrator, and if you enjoy the warmth and wetness of the tub, you probably want to consider investing in a shower massager. Like the wand and handle vibrators, shower massagers have a host of uses beyond masturbation, too!

Where do I go to buy a vibrator?

Don't make buying a vibrator a traumatizing experience. If you MUST have one of those penis-shaped things, most lingerie shops carry them. But most department stores sell the 'wand' or 'handle' vibrators under the guise of "personal massagers," and buying one from reputable department stores means a warranty, you can return it if unsatisfied, and it won't have "Doc Johnson's Love Machine" emblazoned across it in pink letters in case mother comes to visit.

What should I know about using a vibrator?

Before using any mechanical vibrator, apply lubrication! Your lover probably does not rank friction burns in the same category as love bites. Use a water-based lubricant, such as K-Y (always recommended), Astroglide, or Wet.

Are there any kinds of vibrators I should avoid?

Do not purchase a vibrator specifically designed to deliver heat to the body as a sexual device. If they work on muscles, great, but don't use them on your cunts and cocks. I know of at least one case where a woman burned herself with one of these things because her climaxes were so strong she didn't notice how much the heater had burned her.

My girlfriend and I have never used a vibrator. What should I know?

Nobody knows how to masturbate YOU better than you do, and the same rule applies to everybody else. Don't use a vibrator on someone else until you've watched them use it on themselves, preferably several times. Men, especially, should watch how their girlfriends or wives use the vibrator alone before taking the reins.

Can I be replaced by a vibrator?

No mechanical piece of plastic can replace the love and affection of a human being; try to see the vibrator as just another toy, and not as competition. Vibrators cannot do the dishes or take out the garbage, and they cannot gives hugs or kisses.

Do vibrators cause a woman to become less sensitive?

Some women do experience a temporary 'desensitization' after the effects of a powerful vibrator, but put the toy away for a week and sensitivity returns to normal. There is no clinical evidence that vibrators cause long-term desensitization.

A final word on vibrators.

Should you buy a vibrator? That's a decision only you can make; I personally have bought two for my wife, and a shower massage, and they've made our sex life a whole lot better, not worse. As always, your mileage may vary.

THE DILDO.

What is a dildo?

Dildo: An artifical substitute for an erect penis
(Websters')

Dildos come in many different shapes and sizes, but all of them are meant to do one thing: in some way, shape, or form, they are meant to be a substitute or symbol for a real penis. If you are inclined to believe Freud, then the Washington Monument could be considered a dildo. For our purposes, though, a dildo is a sex toy, usually made of latex or silicone, designed to be inserted into some bodily orifice for sexual pleasure.

People use dildos for a variety of purposes. Although most women can orgasm through clitoral stimulation, many do enjoy the feeling of something hard and thrusting inside them during masturbation. Many men, gay or otherwise, feel the same way, using small (or as your tastes go, large) dildos for anal stimulation. A dildo can be used with a harness to give a woman a penis she can thrust with and still keep her hands free.

What should I look for in buying a dildo?

Buying a dildo involves a number of factors, such as length, thickness, hardness and texture. It is strongly recommended that you comparison shop with your hands, looking for one with a smooth surface made of a firm, but not too firm, latex. Dildo shopping is a very personal activity, and you should take your time buying one.

The two most common materials for a dildo are silicone and latex. Silicone is usually more expensive, but most people who use dildos regularly agree that its qualities of matching body temperature and its general texture make it the superior material. As with anything, you get what you pay for.

The most important thing to remember is that you should start small. Buy dildos you *know* you can probably handle, rather than ones you hope to be able to handle. Get your money's worth out of any toy you buy.

BUTT PLUGS

What is a "butt plug?"

A butt plug is a kind of dildo with a bulge in the center, much like a spindle, so that the shaft gradually thickens, flares out, and then begins to narrow again.

In general, once inside the rectal cavity, the flare of a well- chosen buttplug will rub directly against those nerve clusters by the opening of the anus, the ones which signal your need to defecate. Depending upon how your brain is wired, denying or understanding this signal can be a very pleasurable experience, or an extremely uncomfortable one. Also, the 'tip' of the well-chosen buttplug will rub against a man's prostate when he moves, sending yet more signals of unknown quality to the brain. It's all in what you like.

What variants of the butt-plug are there?

Other forms of "butt-plugs" are known as doorknobs or pearlstrings. A doorknob is a round sphere of latex mounted on a narrower shaft. Like a buttplug, it 'plugs' the orifice, but the sensations are different. A pearlstring is a series of spheres that can be anywhere from a half inch to three inches in diameter that you use to 'stuff' the rectum to create a feeling of fullness.

COCK RINGS

What is a cock ring?

A cock ring is an object that typically goes around the base of both the penis and scrotum. Since veins are closer to the surface of the skin than arteries, this has the effect of allowing blood to flow into the penis but restricts its ability to flow outwards. In turn, this makes the penis get hard and stay hard for longer. Obviously, for this to work a cock ring must be put on when the penis is unerect.

Most cock rings are made of chromed steel or rubber. In fact, most of them are little more than high-priced gasket rings or chrome- plated circular chain links one could buy at any hardware store. They have to be chosen carefully, sized for the user. A too-loose cock ring does nothing, a too-tight cock ring cuts off all retreating blood flow, thus preventing the cock from ever getting soft, which may sound like fun but can become painful after two or more hours, and which may require a trip to the emergency room to remove. Some cock rings that get around this problem are made with snaps at different places along a strap of leather, therefore making it easy to size and to remove.

The best cock rings are even simpler. They're a piece of leather or soft rope tied into place. (7oz leather lace is the author's favorite, followed by 1/4" nylon rope.) Being both infinitely adjustable and easy to remove or cut off with a pair of nurses shears, they serve all the purpose of the toy- or hardware- store bought models.

How do you put on a cock ring?

Putting on a solid cock ring can be tricky-- and taking it off can be even trickier! You have to be soft to do either, putting first your testicles through the ring, and then your penis, since at that stage your penis should be softer and more flexible than the always- solid testes. Taking it off is the reverse process, but since one of the purposes of a cock ring is to keep you hard, this can be easier said than done.

"SPANISH FLY"

What is Spanish Fly?

Spanish fly is a powder of ground up wings of the CANTHARIS VESICATORIA beetle, found in the deserts of Spain and the Southwest United States. It has the effect of irritating the outer mucous membranes of the vagina and the penis glans (head), thus bringing your genitals to your attention and sometimes giving you the impression that you are 'aroused.' Women may also experience lubrication as a response to this irritation. However, the body is not actually stimulated, and intercourse is probably painful under these conditions, although it may sometimes help to scratch what really *is* an itch, and not desire.

Spanish fly is also quite poisonous, and therefore illegal in the United States. Dosage is very hard to determine, as is quality, and you're just as likely to die from Spanish fly as you are to get laid.

What is the "Spanish Fly" sold in America?

What is sold as "spanish fly" in the United States is usually sold with the terms "spurious" or "placebo." I suggest you go look these words up before buying anything with these words on the package. Most "Spanish Fly" is nothing more than a cheap blend of vitamins or simply a sugar pill.

LUBRICANTS

What is meant by "lubricant?"

A "lubricant," (sometimes referred to as a "sex lube," or just "lube,") is usually a water-based, condom-friendly liquid or jelly used to enhance or replace a woman's natural lubrication. Some people regard lubricants as a must-have item in this age of safer sex and they are an essential ingrediant to successful anal intercourse. The use of a lubricant on the inside of a condom can make the sensations delivered to the penis much stronger.

Prior to the current, safer-sex era, many people used oil-based lubricants, using vaseline or mineral oil. Neither of these are particularly healthy; petroleum-based oils destroy latex upon contact, making them useless for use with condoms. Oils also coat the inside of the vagina and rectum, providing a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Even monogamous couples who don't have to worry about safer sex should avoid using oils for this reason, as well as one other: if it destroys the latex of condoms, it will also destroy the latex of diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges, as well as the protective coatings around some IUDs.

So, what are they made of?

Most lubricants are made up of one or (more commonly) several of the following: glycerin, hydroxyethyl cellulose, or propelyene glycol. Some add aloe vera or vitamin E acetate. All add a pH balancing agent, and most have some sort of preservative, since the first three items are all essentially food additives, "thickening agents." Look at a container of Slime in a toy store-- the same three primary ingredients.

What brands are there?

Although the most common brand of sex lubricant is still "KY Jelly," you should be aware that KY is intended for single-use medical environments; the insertion of a thermometer or catheter, for example, and is deliberately forumlated to break down quickly. This is not good for situations where the lubricant is expected to last a long time, such as during intercourse.

The names of other common brands are: Wet, ForPlay, ID, Slip, Probe, Pride, Aqualube, Astroglide, and Elbow Grease. Both Wet and Elbow Grease also make oil-based lubricants "for masturbation purposes only," so read the label carefully before you buy. These are just a few of many lubricants on the market.

Which is best?

"Best lubricant" is a non-sequitor, since lubricant choice is as personal to taste as food. Some people like it thick, others runny, others need it to be slick enough to grease their engines and others need it to last long enough to go for hours. Small sampler bottles (1 oz.) are available for a dollar apiece-- buy one of each and try them out. Figure out which one you like best.

CLOTHING

Is clothing a "sex toy?"

There is some debate about this, but one thing is hard to deny: clothing is sexy. Whether it's a silk nightgown from Victoria's Secret, a military uniform, the leather jacket of a biker or the riding clothes of an equestrienne, some form of clothing is usually someone else's ideal of "sexy clothing."

What is "Fetish Clothing?"

Fetish wear is usually clothing made of leather, latex, or rubber cut in a specific style to accentuate the body and show it off in a sexually arousing fashion. Fetish wear is a specific genre of clothing and as recognizable as such as swimwear or lingere. Fetish wear's most common characteristic is price; the stuff's expensive. Remember that it is only a fad, after all, and will be as out of style as the discowear of the 1970's. Eventually.

So what *is* sexy clothing?

That depends entirely on who you and your lover are. If you like your lover to wear silk, say so-- hopefully they'll enjoy the suggestion. Leather, denim, uniform clothing-- allow your imagination to run wild. A more outrageous suggestion is period clothing, such as the 1920's, or the 1400's. And even further out, one could suggest wearing masks to allow fantasy to run riot-- animal masks are a popular item in this field.

FOOD

Food is sexy?

Many lingere shops actively sell food items-- whipped cream, powdered honey, flavored jellies and jams. I guess the idea is that if they're sold in lingere shops they must be sexy. Many romances start over dinner, and cooking for someone can be as intimate, or as traumatic, as having sex with them.

What kinds of food are sexy?

While almost any kind of food can be sexy, some are more traditional than others. Sweets, such as chocolates, are actual tokens of affection, exchanged on Saint Valentine's day as well as other occassions. In the bedroom, chocolate can be spread on the body and licked off. The same is true of honey or any other spreadable substance. Whipped cream is another popular food item. And a small spill of champagne over the vulva can take care of any concerns one might have about the taste-- for a little while, at least.

Fruits can be sexual as well-- bananas are often compared to penises (or the other way around) because of their shape and size. Xaveria Hollander, "The happy hooker," once referred to peaches as "the fruit that looks most like a woman's vulva." And grapes, fed one at a time, are a staple of B-movies about decadent, imperial Romans.

Almost anything edible can be sexy. At least two movies in recent times have depicted sushi as sexy. Placing doughnuts around a man's erect penis and then eating them off can be an act of trust.

Be aware that any sugary substance placed into the vagina will vastly increase the chance of a yeast infection. It is best to avoid getting chocolate, honey, and the like into the vagina.

Drugs

Disclaimer: Nothing in this FAQ is intended to be taken as a recommendation or endorsement of illegal substance use. It is the intention of this FAQ to accurately report the effects of those substances that its readers may choose to use upon their sexual functioning, both positive and negative.

Alcohol.

The only "legal" drug in this short list of mind-altering chemicals, alcohol is widely available in most of the known world. Alcohol is primarily a depressant, although it small doses it may cause free-association that leads to violence where hostility already exists. Alcohol is used in a sexual context to "loosen one up," overcoming inhibitions to proceed to the sexual act itself; however, it's depressant effect may also cause temporary impotence.

Amyl Nitrite.

Also known as "poppers," "Rush," "Locker Room," or "Head Cleaner." Currenly controlled in the US, although designer variants of butyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite, and cyclohexyl nitrite are still available in some states. This drug relaxes the smooth muscles of the vascular system, resulting in a momentary "rush" that is primarly the result of oxygen depravation to the brain. Also relaxes the vaginal and anal sphincters and was once popular with gay men for that effect. Produces intense headaches in about a quarter of all users.

Cocaine.

Sex on cocaine is frequently described as "the most intense in the world." (Of course, that's said about crystal methamphetamine, too.) Cocaine elevates the perceived effect of arousal, both male and female. Depression is a common post-high effect. Chronic use leads to full-blown paranoia, psychological dependancy, and impotence.

Marijuana.

There is a lot of controversy over marijuana, and has been touted as "the most powerful aphrodisiac in the world." But neither marijuana nor any other drug will create passion where there is none to begin with. Many people who have used marijuana during sex have reported enhanced sensations, longer durations, and increased arousal. However, marijuana may also make sex more difficult because of its tranquilizing effect.

LSD-25.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. A powerful psychedelic, most people who have tried to have sex under the influence of LSD have stated that their nervous systems were far too overloaded with basic sensations to try and engage in anything as complex as sex. For those who have succeeded, however, the effect as with all LSD experiences-- depending on setting and preconceptions about the experience, it can be exhilirating or terrifying.


U.S. Legal Issues and Sexuality

United States Sodomy Laws, state by state

In the first column, an M indicates misdemeanor, F is felony.

ALABAMA
M 13A-6-65,Sexual Misconduct, 1 year/$2000
Does not apply to married couples.

ALASKA Repealed effective 1980

ARIZONA
M 13-1411, Crime Against Nature (anal intercourse), 30 days/$500
M 13-1412, Lewd and Lascivious Acts, 30 days/$500

ARKANSAS
M 5-14-111, Sodomy, 1 year/$1000, same sex only
Bill passed unanimously "aimed at weirdos and queers who live in a fairyland world and are trying to wreck family life." Signed into law by governor in 1977.
CALIFORNIA Repealed effective 1976

COLORADO Repealed effective 1972

CONNECTICUT Repealed effective 1971

DELAWARE Repealed effective 1973

FLORIDA
M 800.02, Unnatural and Lascivious Act, 60 days/$500

GEORGIA
F 16-6-2, Sodomy, 1 to 20 years
Upheld as to homosexuals on the grounds that there is no fundamental federal constitutional right to "engage in sodomy." Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).
M 16-6-15, Solicitation of Sodomy, 1 year/$1000

HAWAII Repealed effective 1973

IDAHO
F 18-6605, Crime Against Nature, 5 years to life

ILLINOIS Repealed effective 1962

First state to repeal sodomy laws, in 1961.
INDIANA Repealed effective 1977

Earlier effort to repeal said legalization might "give us an opportunity to study it more openly, and to see what causes it, in the hope that we can eventually eliminate it."
IOWA Repealed effective 1978

KANSAS
M 21-3505, Sodomy, 6 months/$1000, same sex only

KENTUCKY
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1992. Commonwealth v. Wasson

LOUISIANNA
F 14.89, Crime Against Nature, 5 years/$2000.
Held unconstitutional by Orleans Parish Court, appeal pending.
MAINE Repealed effective 1976

MARYLAND
F 27-553, Sodomy, 10 years
F 27-554, Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices, 10 years/$1000
Found not to apply to noncommercial, hetrosexual activity in private. Schochet v. State, 1990.
MASSACHUSETTS
F 272-34, Crime Against Nature, 20 years
F 272-35, Unnatural and Lascivious Acts, 5 years/$100-$1000
Crime Against Nature applies only to anal intercourse. Unnatural and Lascivious Acts has been held not apply to private consensual adult behavior. Commonwealth v. Balthazar, Supreme Judicial Court 1974. It has been suggested that such a ruling would apply to Crime Against Nature.
MICHIGAN
F 750.158, Crime Against Nature, 15 years
Held unconstitutional as applied to private, consensual adult behavior. Michigan Organization for Human Rights v. Kelly (Wayne County Circ. Ct. 1990), no appeal taken, only applies to Wayne County. Held consitutional by Michigan Court of Apeals (People v. Brashier) 1992, effective outside of Wayne County. Decision is needed from the Michigan Supreme Court.
MINNESOTA
M 609.293, Sodomy, 1 year/$3000
Minnesota's law also prohibits sex between humans and birds.
MISSISSIPPI
F 97-29-59, Unnatural Intercourse, 10 years

MISSOURI
M 566.090, Sexual Misconduct, 1 year/$1000, same sex only

MONTANA
F 45-5-505, Deviate Sexual Conduct, 10 years/$50,000, same sex only

NEBRASKA Repealed effective 1978

NEVADA Repealed effective 1993

NEW HAMPSHIRE Repealed effective 1975

NEW JERSEY Repealed effective 1979

NEW MEXICO Repealed effective 1975

NEW YORK
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1980, People v. Onofre

NORTH CAROLINA
F 14-177, Crime Against Nature, 10 years / discretionary fine

NORTH DAKOTA Repealed effective 1975

OHIO Repealed effective 1974

OKLAHOMA
F 21-886, Crime Against Nature, 10 years
A 1977 effort to repeal sodomy laws was met with a vote-delaying "chorus of giggles."
OREGON Repealed effective 1972

PENNSYLVANIA
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1980. Commonwealth v. Bonadio

RHODE ISLAND
F 11-10-1, Crime Against Nature, 7-20 years. Includes "ordinary extramarital intercourse."

SOUTH CAROLINA
F 16-15-120, Buggery, 5 years/$500
The law actually legislates the "abominable crime of buggery." No further statutory explaination given.
SOUTH DAKOTA Repealed effective 1977

TENNESSEE
M 39-13-510, Homosexual Acts, 30 days/$50, same sex only

TEXAS
Found unconstitutional by state Court of Appeals, England v. Dallas, no appeal taken. Effective 1994 with the dismissal of Morales v. State.

UTAH
M 76-5-403, Sodomy, 6 months/$1000
In 1982, the Republican State Convention added a plank to its platform stating that homosexuals should be denied the civil, political, social, and economic rights guaranteed to others.
VERMONT Repealed effective 1977

VIRGINIA
F 18.2-361, Crime Against Nature, 5-20 years

WASHINGTON Repealed effective 1976

WEST VIRGINIA Repealed effective 1976

WISCONSIN Repealed effective 1983

WYOMING Repealed effective 1977

U.S. Possesions

D.C. Repealed effective 1993

AMERICAN SAMOA Repealed effective ?

GUAM Repealed effective ?

N. MARIANA IS. Repealed effective ?

VIRGIN ISLANDS Repealed effective ?

PUERTO RICO
Criminal, penalties unknown.
Compiled by
Bob Summersgill <xe605C@GWUVM.GWU.EDU>
DC Sodomy-Law reform coalition.


Age of Consent in the United States, by state.

As of August 6, 1994

Alabama16
Alaska16
Arizona18
Arkansas16
California18
Colorado16
Connecticut16
D.C.16
Delaware16
Florida18
Georgia16
Hawaii16[3]
Idaho18
Illinois16
Indiana16
Iowa14
Kansas16
Kentucky14[1]
Louisiana17
Maine14
Maryland16
Massachusetts18
Michigan16
Minnesota16
Mississippi18[2]
Missouri16
Montana16
Nebraska16
Nevada16
New Hampshire16
New Jersey16
New Mexico13
New York17
North Carolina16
North Dakota18
Ohio16
Oklahoma18
Oregon18
Pennsylvania14
Rhode Island16
South Carolina16
South Dakota16
Tennessee18
Texas17
Utah14
Vermont15
Virginia16
Washington18
West Virginia16
Wisconsin18
Wyoming18

Footnotes:

[1] Age 16 if the man is 21 or older.
[2] If the female is over 12, the statute applies only to virgins.
[3] If the victim is 14 or fifteen and the defendant is within three years of age, the court has discretion.
Contributed by:
Bill Casti <quire@vector.casti.com>

Contraception

What are the various methods of contraception and their effectiveness rates?

Contraceptive Methods: Failure Rates, Advantages, Causes of Failure, and Side Effects

Method Theoretical or Perfect Use Failure Rate Typical Use Failure Rate in Typical Users Potential Negative Side Effects Potential Advantages to Users Possible Causes of Failure That Could Result in Pregnancy
Abstinence 0% ? Sexual frustration. Avoiding planning for eventual use of contraception. No cost or health risks. Freedom from worry about pregnancy. Inability to continue abstaining.
Withdrawal (coitus interruptus) 4% 19% Inability to fully relax during sexual intercourse and not be on guard. Frustration created by inability to ejaculate in the vagina. No cost or preparation involved. No risks to health (if sexually transmitted diseases are absent). Available even if no other methods are. Lack of ejaculatory control, causing ejaculation in vagina. Ejaculating semen too close to vaginal opening after withdrawing. Sperm present in pre-ejaculatory fluid from the penis (even more likely if intercourse is repeated within a few hours).
Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness (Rhythm Method) 1-9% 20% Sexual frustration during periods of abstinence. Accepted by Roman Catholic Church. May be used to increase chances of pregnancy if that choice is made. No health risks. Inadequate time devoted to charting female's menstrual cycle or misunderstanding of method. Ovulation at an unexpected time in the cycle. Deciding to have intercourse during the unsafe period of the cycle, without other contraception.
Combined Oral Contraceptive (birth control pill containingestrogen and progestin) 0.1% 3% Nausea, weight gain, fluid retention, breast tenderness, headaches, missed menstrual periods, acne. Mood changes, depression, anxiety, fatigue, decreased sex drive. Circulatory diseases. Gastrointestinal disorders. Reliable; offers protection all the time. Brings increased regularity to menstrual cycle. Tends to reduce menstrual cramping. Not taking pills as directed or skipping a pill. Improper supervision by clinician. Ceasing taking the pills for any reason.
Minipill (progestin only) 0.5% 3% Irregular menstrual periods are a common side effect. Bleeding between menstrual periods. Appearance of ovarian cysts. Safer for older women. Reliable; offers protection all the time. Brings increased regularity to menstrual cycle. Tends to reduce menstrual Not taking pills as directed or skipping a pill. Improper supervision by clinician. Ceasing taking the pills for any reason.
Norplant implants 0.09% 0.09% Slight visibility of implants. Menstrual cycle irregularities. Improper insertion or difficult removal. May have risks similar to pills, but research is incomplete. Long-term protection. Extremely reliable. Requires no attention after initial treatment. Use beyond a 5-year period. Gaining a significant amount of weight (less effective in women over 155 lbs.).
Depo-Provera injections 0.3% 0.3% Weight gain. Excessive bleeding. Menstrual cycle irregularities. Increased depression. Decrease in sex drive. May be associated with slight increase in breast cancer risk for younger women, but research is incomplete. 3-month protection. Extremely reliable. Neglecting to get reinjected after 3 months.
Sponge (contains spermicide) Note: Manufacture of this method was discontinued in 1995 9-20% 18-36% Increased risk of toxic shock syndrome. Allergic reaction to polyurethane or spermicide. Vaginal dryness. Increased risk of vaginal yeast infections. Ease of use. Relatively inexpensive. Protection over 24 hours, several acts of intercourse. No odor or taste. Difficulty in proper insertion and placement. Internal anatomical abnormalities that interfere with placement or retention.
Cervical cap with Spermicide 6% 18% Possible risk of toxic shock syndrome. Allergic reaction to rubber or spermicide. Abrasions or irritation to vagina or cervix. Can be left in place for long periods of time. Improper fitting or insertion/placement. Deterioration by oil-based lubricants or vaginal medications.
Spermicidal Foam, Cream, Jelly, Suppositories, or Film 6% 21% Allergic reactions to chemical. Unpleasant taste of chemical during oral-genital sex. Available without prescription. Minimal health risks. Easy to carry and use. s, Does not require partner Slippage of outer rim into vagina during intercourse. Twisting of pouch during intercourse.
Male Condom 3% 12% Allergic reactions to latex (natural "skin" condoms are also available and nonlatex rubber condoms will soon be available as well). Some reduction in sensation on the penis. Available without prescription. Offers protection from sexually transmitted diseases. A method for which the man can take full responsibility. Easy to carry and use. Breakage of condom. Not leaving space at tip of condom to collect sperm. Lubrication with petroleum jelly, or presence of some vaginal medications, weakening rubber condom. Seepage of semen around opening of condom or condom slipping off in the vagina after coitus. Storing of condom for more than 2 years or in temperature extremes. Not placing condom on penis at beginning of intercourse.
Female Condom (Vaginal Pouch) 5% 21-26% Some reduction in sensations of intercourse. Relatively high rate of contraceptive failure. Sometimes makes noises. Allows woman to choose protection from disease, along with contraception. Available without prescription. Slippage of outer rim into vagina during intercourse. Twisting of pouch during intercourse.
Diaphragm 6% 18% Allergic reaction to the rubber (plastic diaphragms are also available) or spermicide. Increased risk of toxic shock syndrome. Bladder infection or vaginal soreness because of pressure from rim. Negative side effects are rare. Inexpensive; can be re-used. Improper fitting or insertion of the diaphragm. Removal of diaphragm too soon (within 6-8 hours of coitus). Not using sufficient amount of spermicidal jelly with the diaphragm. Leakage in or around diaphragm or slippage of of diaphragm. Deterioration by oil-based lubricants or vaginal medications.
Intrauterine Device (IUD): Progesterone T (Progestasert) Copper T 380A Levonorgestrel 1.5% 0.6% 0.1% 2% 0.8% 0.1% Uterine cramping, abnormal bleeding, and heavy menstrual flow. Pelvic inflammatory disease or perforation of the uterus during insertion of the IUD; also violent allergic reaction; infection of the ovaries. Reliable. Can be left in place, so that nothing must be remembered or Failure to notice that IUD has been expelled by uterus.
Vasectomy 0.1% 0.15% Psychological implications of being infertile can sometimes lead to some sexual problems. Permanent; no other preparations. Very reliable. Minimal health risks. Having unprotected intercourse before reproductive tract is fully cleared of sperm following vasectomy (may be several months). Healing together of the two cut ends of the vas deferens.
Contributed by Sam Hulick
shulick@indiana.edu


From Sexuality Today, by Gary F. Kelly

Associated Risk statistics with Contraception

Activity                        Chance of Death in a Year

Risks for men and women of all ages who participate in:
     Motorcycling                       1 in 1,000
     Automobile driving                 1 in 6,000
     Power boating                      1 in 6,000
     Rock climbing                      1 in 7,500
     Playing football                   1 in 25,000
     Canoeing                           1 in 100,000

Risks for women aged 15 to 44 years:
     Using Tampons                      1 in 350,000
     Having sexual intercourse (PID)    1 in 50,000

Preventing pregnancy:
     Using birth control pills
          nonsmoker                     1 in 63,000
          smoker                        1 in 16,000
     Using IUDs                         1 in 100,000
     Using diaphragm, condom or spermicide   NONE
     Using fertility awareness methods       NONE
     Undergoing sterilization:
          Laparoscopic tubal ligation   1 in 67,000
          Hysterectomy                  1 in 1,600
          Vasectomy                     1 in 300,000

Continuing pregnancy                    1 in 14,300

Terminating Pregnancy:
     Illegal abortion                   1 in 3,000
     Legal abortion
          Before 9 weeks                1 in 500,000
          Between 9-12 weeks            1 in 67,000
          Between 13-15 weeks           1 in 23,000
          After 15 weeks                1 in 8,700

The source is the 1990-1992, 15th Revised Edition of Contraceptive Technology. Authored by too many doctors to cite. However, this book is used by millions of doctors around theworld as an authority on contraception. Its authors gather their sources from data published by several different statistic gathering organizations (such as the Centres for Disease Control) and then compile and interpret it in their book. Happy Reading.


Common Methods of Contraception

Diaphragm

Has a failure rate of 2% (i.e. out of 100 women who primarily use the diaphragm, two become pregnant in any year). Always use spermicide; both partners must learn how to place it properly. It has few associated risks; it cannot become 'lost' because the vagina is only a few inches long. Can 'slip' and press against the rectum; this can be uncomfortable. Also, some men can feel the diaphragm during intercourse. Some women have recurrent yeast infections when using the diaphragm.

The average diaphragm costs about 20-30 dollars, but it must first be sized and fitted by a gynecologist, so there is the cost of a doctor's fee. Must be replaced every two years to ensure correct fit and product lifespan. A tube of Gynol II costs around 11 dollars and is good for 24 doses of spermicide.

The major disadvantage to the diaphragm is that it must be used one of two ways; either it is inserted before any sort of sexual play, in which case the taste of spermicide can become an issue if the couple wishes to engage in oral sex, or is inserted after oral sex but before intercourse, which can be considered a major interruption of play and may lead to not using it all.

(SOURCE: "The New Our Bodies, Ourselves" The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, 1984. Pgs 225-228.)


Reality, The Female Condom

The female condom is a soft, loose-fitting plastic pouch made of polyurethane (not latex) that lines the vagina. It has a semi-stiff plastic ring at each end. The inner ring is used to insert the device inside the vagina and hold it in place. The outer ring partly covers the labia area and holds the condom open. The female condom is market in the United States by Wisconson Pharmaceuticals under the name Reality. In the United Kingdom and Canada it is marketed under the name Femidom. Market acceptance testing has been going on for over a year, and on August 15, 1994, Wisconson Pharmaceuticals began widespread marketing of Reality.

In theory, the polyurethane construction of the female condom makes it viable to use with oil-based lubricants, and Wisconson Pharmaceutical's hotline states that this is safe. The female condom is also the best viable alternative available for those people who are allergic to latex. The female condom should notbe used for anal sex-- the anus has no upper end and the outer ring is not enough to prevent it from being pushed into the anus and become lost.

Inserting the female condom.

The female condom can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex. However, most women prefer to insert it between 2 and 20 minutes prior to sexual intercourse. The condom should be removed immediately after sex.

Squeeze the inner ring with your thumb and middle finger, placing your index finger down upon the plastic inside the inner ring. Still squeezing, spread the labia apart. With your hand positioned with your palm towards you, insert the female condom into the vagina. Push the inner ring and pouch the rest of the way into the vagina until the inner ring is up past the pubic bone. The outside ring should now lie against the vulva, covering the opening of the vagina.

The female condom after insertion

During intercourse, the female condom may move or shift. It should not be pushed into the vagina, and the outer ring is intended to prevent this. However, it may happen. If so, stop intercourse, fix the ring, and apply more lubricant to the penis or in the pouch.

After intercourse, the female condom should be disposed of in a trashcan. Do not flush the female condom in the toilet.

Effectiveness

The pregnancy rate for the female condom under normal use is expected to be comparable to that of the male condom (13%). However, because of a lack of familiarity with the device, initial results have been discouraging, with rates as high as double that (26%). The female condom requires the use of an external, water-soluble lubricant. A package of Reality, the brand available in the United States, comes with three female condoms and a small bottle of lubricant (1/2 oz). The lubricant is comparable in quality to Astroglide.

The female condom requires practice to use properly. Be prepared to take your time inserting it the first time. Those who have experience using a diaphragm will find the process familiar.

The female condom has not been tested in its efficiency to prevent disease. It is expected to be as effective as a male condom. However, the insertion process calls for two steps: inserting the ring, where the hand is outside the pouch and in contact with vaginal fluids, and then fitting the ring, where the fingers are inside the pouch, thus spreading those fluids about the pouch where the penis will go. While there are solutions to this problem (have each partner do one of these steps, wear gloves for half the process, or wash hands before the fitting stage), none of them are adequate for most people. The female condom should not be considered a viable protection for STDs in cases where the woman is suspected to have a mucosal infection such as herpes or HPV.

In the United States, Reality has been available primarily through Planned Parenthood. Wisconson Pharmaceuticals has started shipping to drug stores and it should be available throughout the U.S. in the last quarter of 1994. Reality is somewhat pricey-- three condoms and a small bottle of lubricant cost approximately $7.00 US.

Personal observations.

My wife and I were part of a marketing test group for Reality. It's expensive, difficult to learn how to use, and not very effective at preventing STDs without extraordinary measures. However, I happen to like it. Without enough lubricant, it will stick to the skin of the penis and act just as a male condom. With enough lubricant it feels much better than a male condom-- the penis responds mostly to friction, and that's what Reality supplies. A friend of mine who is allergic to latex thinks they're a gift from heaven. Some gay men have tried using Reality for anal sex, with mixed but generally positive results. Wisconson Pharmaceutical has announced, rather loudly, that they have no intention of making the modification necessary to make Reality truly viable for anal sex.

Reality comes with an instruction booklet. The booklet is hilarious, mostly because of the name of the product. For example:

If you have the opportunity to purchase and try Reality, do so at least once. Get three condoms and a bottle of lubricant and try them out. Any new reproductive technology is worthwhile, and who knows-- you might like them.


Condoms

This is a posting of information about types of condoms which are significantly larger or smaller than average. I got it out of a book called "The Condom Book" or something similarly imaginative.

One thing that was apparent from reading through the descriptions was that advertising on size (or for that matter thickness or ribbing or whatever) is often misleading. A brand which is claimed to be smaller than average frequently isn't outside the normal variation. There may also be differences in size based on variations in manufacturing and these figures were probably based on single samples. Different size measurements for different styles of the same brand may indicate such variations or be an attempt to provide some size variation, in which case getting the precise style named is important. All measurements are flat and don't take into account elasticity, which might influence comfort when worn. Typical condom flat widths range from 2" to 2-1/8" (meaning two and one eighth, not two minus an eight). All the condoms listed here are both lubricated and reservoir ended. Company names are listed in parentheses. Extra words which may appear in the name on some packages are listed in square brackets. It is possible I've copied some numbers wrong (and other disclaimer noises).

SLIMMER CONDOMS

Mentor (Mentor):                        2" by 8", not smaller,
                                        but has adhesive inside

Bikini (Barnetts):                      slightly less than 2" by
                                        7-1/4", packaged in that
                                        frustrating plastic
                                        wrapper

[Sheik] Fetherlite (Schmid):            1-7/8" by 7-1/2"

Hugger (Circle):                        1-7/8" by 7-1/8"

Slims (Circle):                         1-7/8" by 7-3/4"
                                        to prevent slippage,
                                        rather expensive though

WIDER CONDOMS

Excita (Schmid):                        2-1/4" by 8-1/4", Excita
                                        Extra has spermicide

[Lifestyle] [Horizon] Nuda (Ansel):     2-5/8" head, 2-1/8"
                                        shaft, by 8-1/8"

[Ramses] NuForm (Schmid):               2-1/2" upper, 2+" lower,
                                        by 8-1/4, has benzocaine
                                        anaesthetic

Rough Rider (Ansel):                    2-1/2" by 8" thick but
                                        doesn't block sensations,
                                        raised studs

Sheik Ribbed (Schmid):                  2-1/4", forgot to note
                                        length

(Note wide variation in Sheik. Elite with spermicide and
Lubricated (with benzocaine?) are both 2-1/8". Fetherlite is
1-7/8".)

Trojan-Enz Lubricated (Carter-Wallace): 2-1/4" by 8"

LONGER CONDOMS

Man-form Lubricated (Protex):           2" by 8-3/4" long
                                        packaged in that
                                        frustrating plastic
                                        wrapper

[Trojan] Naturalube (Carter-Wallace):   2" by 8-5/8"

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

HIV / AIDS

Full name:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome. It is important to distinguish between the two. HIV is the virus that ultimately causes AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms associated with HIV infection.

Symptoms:
People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for up to fifteen years. During this time, they are capable of infecting anyone they have sex with or donate blood to. Initial symptoms of HIV infection include inexplicable weight loss, persistent fever, swollen lymph nodes, and reddish spots on the skin (Karposi's Sarcoma).

HIV causes the destruction of the immune system. It's most pronounced symptoms, therefore, are opportunistic infections of pneumocystis carinii, fungal infections, tuberculosis, and various herpes forms.

Treatment:
There is no cure for HIV / AIDS. Right now most scientists agree that if you are infected with HIV, you will eventually die of AIDS. Treatment may fend off infections, however the typical course is for one overwhelming infection to follow another until the victim succumbs. Various drugs may slow the virus, but right now there is no cure.

Transmission:
In a person infected with HIV, the virus can be present in the body's semen, blood, and breast milk. It can also be present, in much smaller quantities, in vaginal secretion, saliva, and tears.

The AIDS virus can be transmitted via any of these fluids, but only the first two -- semen and blood -- are likely to be involved. Anal sex is the most commonly perceived method of transfer, but vaginal sex has been repeatedly shown to transmit HIV. Men are less likely than women to be infected through vaginal sex, but there are recorded cases of men having been infected this way. Cunnilingus and fellatio have also been established as capable of transmitting the virus. Sexual activities, not sexual orientation, transmit the virus.

HIV cannot be passed on through casual contact, hugging, hand-shaking, touching the sweat of an infected person, or mosquito bites.

Testing:
The HIV test shows the presence of antibodies to HIV. It does not show the presence of the virus: the body first has to develop antibodies, which normally takes about six weeks. Hence, a positive result means that someone has antibodies and could possibly develop AIDS in the future. A negative result means that someone does not have antibodies at the moment. If there is a reason to think that exposure was more recent than six weeks, then a test taken immediately can only serve as a baseline to compare against a test taken later. Within six months of HIV infection, 99% of the population will test positive. No one should be tested for HIV without first obtaining counselling and ensuring beforehand support from his or her family or friends.

The following numbers may be of use:

AIDS Hotline (800) 232-4636
CDC AIDS Ethnicity, Age recording (404) 330-3020
CDC AIDS Transmission mode recording (404) 330-3021
CDC AIDS Top 10, Projections recording (404) 330-3022

Gonorrhea

Male Symptoms:
Yellowish discharge from the penis. Painful, frequent urination. Symptoms develop from two to thirty days after infection. Roughly 20% of infected men have no symptoms. Later stages of the infection may move into the prostate, seminal vesicles, and epididymis, causing severe pain and fever. Rare cases can lead to septic arthritis. Untreated, gonorrhea can lead to sterility.

Female Symptoms:
Under half of women with gonorrhea show no symptoms, or symptoms so mild they are commonly ignored. Early symptoms include increased vaginal discharge, irritation of the external genitals, pain or burning on urination and abnormal menstrual bleeding. Women who are untreated may develop severe complications. The infection will usually spread to the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID, though not only caused by gonorrhea, is the most common cause of female infertility. Early symptoms of PID are lower abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain during intercourse.

Treatment:
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, and is therefore treated with standard antibiotics, usually a member of the penicillin family. Tetracycline drugs frequently do not cure gonorrhea, especially in cases of anal infection. One variety of gonorrhea, penicilliase-producing N. gonorrhea, is immune to penicillin, and drugs of the cyclosporin family may be necessary.

Transmission:
The bacteria that causes gonorrhea can be passed through sexual contact, such as intercourse, fellatio, anal sex, cunnilingus and even kissing, although the last is rare.

Syphilis

Symptoms:
Primary Stage:
A chancre sore develops at the site of infection from two to four weeks after infection has occurred. The chancre is painless 75% of the time. The chancre starts as a dull red spot, turns into a pimple, which ulcerates, forming a round or oval sore with a red rim. The sore heals in 4-6 weeks - however, the infection is still present. The chancre is usually found on the genitals or anus, but can appear on any part of the skin.

Secondary Stage:
One week to six months after the chancre heals. Pale red or pinkish rash appears (often on palms or soles) fever, sore throat, headaches, joint pains, poor appetite, weight loss, hair loss. Moist sores may appear around the genitals or anus and are highly infectious. Symptoms usually last three to six months, but can come and go.

Latent Stage:
No apparent symptoms, and the carrier is no longer contagious. However, the organism is insinuating itself into the host's tissues. 50 to 70 percent of carriers pass the rest of their lives without the disease leaving this stage. The reminder pass into Last Stage syphilis.

Last Stage:
Serious heart problems, eye problems, brain and spinal cord damage, with a high probability of paralysis, insanity, blindness or death.

Treatment:
Penicillin by injection, or a two-week regimen of tetracycline, is the standard treatment for syphilis. Two follow-up blood tests two weeks apart after ending treatment are necessary to ensure the treatment is complete. The first three stages of syphilis are completely curable, and even in the last stage syphilis can be stopped. With the present medical technology to diagnose and treat syphilis, no one should ever suffer the effects of last-stage syphilis.

Transmission:
Nominally sexual contact, but can be transmitted by blood transfusion or from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus.

Gential Warts and Human Papilloma Virus

Symptoms:
Half of the people infected with HPV do not show any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they are small, visible warts appearing at the tip of the penis or at the opening of vagina. In women, HPV also causes cervical lesions. Warts can occur anywhere on the shaft of penis or the scrotum in men, and anywhere around the labial area or inside the vagina in women. In women, an abnormal Pap smear may indicate cervical lesions, but a coloscopy is necessary to confirm this.

Treatment:
Warts are pinpoint infections, and can be treated as such. Podophyllin solution, trichlorocetic acid, and fluorouracil cream are three chemical solutions used to burn warts from the skin. Liquid nitrogen or lasers are sometimes used, as well as electrodessication. A six-month check-up is necessary to confirm that all the warts were destroyed, and even then a small percentage of people may experience a recurrence of warts within 18 months.

Transmission:
The virus is transmitted through sexual contact. Warts are considered very contagious even in people who show no visible symptoms.


Genital Herpes, HSV

Full Name:
Herpes Simplex Virus I and Herpes Simplex Virus II. HSV-I is most often associated with cold sores or fever blisters about the mouth and lips, while HSV-II is associated with sores around the gential area. There is some crossover, however, and each virus will survive quite comfortably in both regions.

Symptoms:
Herpes is marked by clusters of small, painful blisters on the genitals. After a few days, the blisters burst, leaving small ulcers. In men, the blisters usually appear on the penis, but can appear in the urethra or rectum. In women, they usually appear on the labia, but can appear on the cervix and anal area. First outbreaks are accompanied by fever, headache, and muscle soreness for two or more consecutive days in 39% of men and 68% of women. Other relatively common symptoms include painful urination discharge from the urethra or vagina, and tender, swollen lymph nodes in the groin. These symptoms tend to disappear within two weeks. Aseptic meningitis occurs in 8 percent of cases, eye infections in 1% of cases, and infection of the cervix in 88% of infected women. Skin lesions last on average 16.5 days in men, 19.7 in women. Secondary symptoms are most prominent in the first four days and then gradually diminish.

Recurrence:
None in 10% of cases. Frequency for the remaining population is from once a month to once every few years. The majority of sufferers do not have repeat attacks after a few years. Most repeat attacks are less severe than the initial attack.

Treatment:
There is no medical cure for herpes. Treatment with acyclovir reduces pain and viral reproduction during outbreaks of sores, although it will not delay or prevent recurrences.

Transmission:
Generally by sexual contact. Direct contact with infected genitals can cause transmission via intercourse, rubbing genitals together, oral genital contact, anal sex, or oral/anal contact. In addition, normally protected areas of skin can become infected if there is a cut, rash, sore. Herpes viruses can be spread in some instances by kissing, if one participant has the infection sited in or near the mouth.


Crabs, Pubic Lice

Symptoms:
Pubic lice are just that, lice that has infested your public hair. The most common symptom is intense itching, usually felt mostly at night. Some victims have no symptoms, others may develop an allergic rash.

Treatment:
Various shampoos and lotions exist to kill lice, but the best solution is simply to shave off the pubic and hair and shower vigorously afterwards.

Transmission:
Nominally through sexual contact, however they may be picked up through use of sheets, towels or clothing used by an infected person.


Nonspecific Urethritis (NSU) or Nongonoccal Urethritis (NGU)

Caused by:
Chlamydia trachomatous, T. mycoplasma, ureaplasma urealyticum, mycolasma hominis. An estimated quarter of cases are allergic reactions to latex or spermicide.

Symptoms:
Similar to gonorrhea but usually milder. Urethral discharge is generally thin and clear. Planned Parenthood estimates that half of the women with one of these diseases doesn't know it. NSU/NGU in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and sterility.

Transmission:
In cases involving a pathogen, sexual intercourse, as well as hands with semen or vaginal secretions on them infecting the eye.

Treatment:
Penicillin is generally not effective against NGU/NSU- causing organisms. Tetracycilne is generally prescribed; sulfa drugs are effective against chlamydia but not the others.


Hepatitis B

Symptoms:
About half of those who get hepatitis B will suffer from an inflammation of the liver, called acute hepatitis. Many people with hepatitis B mistake the symptoms for other illnesses, such as the flu, while others are more seriously affected and may miss school or work for months. Other common symptoms include skin rashes and arthritis, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, malaise, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin).

Treatment:
There is no cure for hepatitis B. There is a vaccine, however, that is very effective. It is also expensive. Consult your physician. A small percentage of people who acquire hepatitis B will carry the virus in their bloodstreams for the rest of their lives as carriers.

Transmission:
Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, and that includes sexual contact. It is a considered a highly infectious disease and should be taken seriously.


Elf Sternberg <elf@halcyon.com>


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