The H-spot: Your Sex

October 14, 2013

                                                   Art by Ryan Huertas (www.ryanhuertas.com)

 

Welcome to Hyphen’s The H-spot column, where Hyphen drops mad knowledge on readers’ questions about the nasty and other prurient delights. Our experts consist of sex goddess Nadia Cho, intrepid medical doctors Monica Hahn and Dharushana Muthulingam, and diva extraordinaire Barbie. Each week, we’ll feature questions that cover health, LGBTQ, and various other burning topics that our prudish parents would disown us from asking.

Feel free to send over more sex questions to Abigail Licad, our fledgling editor-assassin of all things repressed and taboo, at abigail.licad[at]hyphenmagazine.com.

Ready to straighten out the kinks in our thoughts on sex and sexuality?  Let’s do it!

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What’s the best way to hit on women? Do you have any surefire tips to
attract someone?

--Eager Beaver

Dear Eager,

It’s impossible to provide universal advice because each person wants
something different romantically depending on what stage they are in their
lives. But in my opinion, everyone in the dating scene would appreciate a lot
more openness and honesty from the people they meet. If you’re interested in
someone and would like to keep seeing them, let them know in a straightforward
way. Make sure to build up your confidence in the beginning when you meet
someone for the first time. Being in a context where you are expected to
socialize with people makes it more natural to approach someone new. Introduce
yourself and find conversation topics that will elicit personal interests
without being intrusive. Most importantly, you have to be yourself so that you can
be comfortable and secure in who you are. And that’s all confidence really
is—being secure in who you are. Approach someone with the intention of getting
to know them instead of getting into a serious relationship, since that’s the
only way you’ll find someone you truly like.

--Nadia

                              Nadia Cho

Nadia Cho is an undergrad at UC Berkeley majoring in psychology, with strong interests in sociology, Asian American Studies and gender and women’s studies. She was a Sex on Tuesday columnist at UC Berkeley’s student paper The Daily Californian. She continues teach sex positive thinking and living at her blog nadiacho.com. Her hobbies include drinking coffee, playing with cats and being sassy. She secretly loves Tumblr and kale. 

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How do I talk
to my doctor about sex? I get so embarrassed when I try, especially since he
seems like an old fuddy-duddy! 

--Flustered at
the physician’s

The general public has long suspected that most
of us doctors are, in fact, fuddy-duddies. And it’s true! (Multicenter randomized control trials are now
confirming this). However, as dorky and awkward as your doctor may seem, he, like all doctors,
has been trained to carefully listen to your health questions in an open,
non-judgmental way. This includes topics concerning natural bodily functions
involving many uncomfortable subjects, including poop, pee, blood, death and,
yes--sex.   

One place to start the conversation about
sex is to bring it up in the context of health issues. Try talking about
health-related behaviors like condom use and substance use as a segway. Ladies,
try bringing it up during a pap smear or contraceptive refill visit. Once you
open up the discussion, you might be surprised to find that your doctor is much
more open to talking about sex and how it affects your overall health than you
previously anticipated. You can help the discussion by
bringing in a written list of specific questions that you want answered by your
doctor, in case you become tongue-tied during the visit.

But
talking about sex can be hard, and comfort levels can vary among different
doctors. Ideally, you should be able to trust your primary care doctor and talk
about any health issue that you find important, including sexual health. If you
find your doctor’s fuddy-duddiness insurmountable, it’s worth switching to a
doctor with whom you feel more comfortable.

--Monica and Dharushana

 Monica Hahn and Dharushana Muthulingam

Monica
Hahn (L) is a resident physician at the UCSF Family and Community
Medicine Residency at San Francisco General Hospital.  She received her
MD from UCSF School of Medicine and her MPH from the UC Berkeley School
of Public Health.  She has been involved in community-based youth
empowerment advocacy, as well as HIV prevention projects.  She is
currently interested in adolescent health, HIV prevention and sexual
health. She enjoys capoeira, Afro-Latin dance, and Brazilian percussion.

Dharushana
Muthulingam (R) is a resident physician in the department of Internal
Medicine of the Kaiser Medical Center in Oakland. She studied medicine
at UCSF and public health at UC Berkeley.  She is interested in
infectious disease, healthy aging, health justice and working with
patients to live the good and flourishing life. In her spare time, she
has been attempting to read David Foster Wallace's 
Infinite Jest. After two years, she is happy to report she is almost half way done. 

                                                            ***

Why do dykes have to practice safe sex if they’re unlikely to catch
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the first place? And how exactly
would safe sex work between women? 

Safe sex between two women (cis
and/or queer) or vulva-vulva lovin,' needs to be talked about more often. Your
question alone proves that safe sex between women is not adequately discussed.

When we have intimate skin on skin
contact and bodily fluids mingle between hot kisses, openings and, ahem, other
things, we expose ourselves to STIs viruses, bacteria and other microbes. These
microbes can cause a number of infections, including HIV/aids, HPV, and genital
herpes, to chlamydia and bacterial vaginosis, to mention a significant few.

Dykes and all lovers involved: get
to know your lovers’ histories and appetites, whether you're into poly, going
monogamous, or going solo. Bring up what you both want and how to manage risk
in order to feel safer about how you have sex.

Barriers should used for safe sex.
Dental Dams can be used for cunnilingus and anal rimming. Finger cots, cute as
they sound, are rubber sheaths for fingering. Condoms can be used for dildo or
full-on penetration. Rubber gloves are for fisting. Yes, safe sex can be
mind-blowing.

Those who love "barrier-free”
sex need to be tested for a full STI panel every six months. This practice
equates to a solid promise to be super vigilant with personal self-care and
hygiene to keep sex safer and hot between partner(s). 

All sounds clinical, but with
practice, it's a fine way for women (cis and/or queer) to honor her body
and her partner.

--Barbie

                                             Barbie

Barbie is your sister and pal in all things love and taboo. NYC-based, she loves long walks on city streets, watching sunsets over the river, farming and looking for the next big thing. She's your wellness connector, media maker, and fellow troublemaker. She loves her food homestyle, hands down. If you're ever in NYC, look her up to chat and chew.

Contributor: 

Abigail Licad

Books Editor

Abigail Licad is one big FOB and damn proud of it. She grew up in the Philippines and immigrated to San Leandro, CA at age 13.  She has a BA from University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in literature from Oxford University. Her poetry and book reviews have appeared in Calyx, Borderlands, The Critical Flame, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. She is Hyphen's Books Editor.

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