Archive for the ‘Health and Body’ Category

Should I Tell Him I Have HPV?

In Dating, Health and Body, Sex on April 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Dear Yenta,

I went to get my PAP and check on my sexual health status.  I was told the doctor would screen for HPV but that at my age (late 30’s) it was to act as a screening for cervical cancer. I was told it might appear only later to disappear and that in my age bracket it wasn’t really anything to be concerned with, just that I would have to come back next year rather than in two years (I guess they only do an every other year exam now).  I went and did my AIDS test, and had abstained for a 8 weeks to make sure I was “all clear” when they did the exam.  I began a new relationship soon after, and felt great to report that I was healthy. A few weeks into the relationship my results came in saying my HPV test was positive, but not to be alarmed. The meds that are available are for twenty somethings…so I was not prescribed anything.  Now the problem is when I started to research HPV I found that I may have passed on to my lover – because one only needs to have CONTACT even with a condom on.

There was also mention that he could already be carrying it and not know as men can’t really be diagnosed with it. Of course fear struck that I might have passed along unwittingly….and reading more about it is anxiety laden.  Why didn’t my doctor tell me it was transmitable?  Does it matter? Do I tell him what’s up, wait for the results of next year? I know honesty is essential but will it matter if he knows? I feel like it’s my business and that since he wouldn’t know if he was a already a carrier or is one now, and it doesn’t effect his health than why bring it up?

Hoping To Soon Be HPV Free

Don't leave your man in the dark. He has a right to know what's happening down under. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,


Oye.  I am so sorry for your troubles.  First off, yes, your doctor should have told you more about how contagious HPV really is.  Second, as much as I hate this fact, sexual health and education are also an individual’s responsibility.  When diagnosed with a disease, especially one down below, it is always good to research the wazoo out of it, just to be sure you protect yourself and others.

For information on your STD, click here.  For STD testing, click here.

That being said, I also understand shutting down when the internet spouts terrifying data and statistics.  What this all boils down to is the fact that you are at present a sexually active adult with a “lover.”  This means that this “lover” may take other lovers, and, unwittingly, spread HPV like wildfire.  While yes, our own health is our own business, when we bed another we are inviting them into our physical storm.

Ie, by sleeping with this man you exposed your health to his health and mixed accordingly.  Now your HPV is his potential HPV and his potential HPV is your HPV, etc., etc.  Even if you don’t transmit a disease every time you fornicate, you are ALWAYS taking that risk, condom or no condom.  Diseases are mean and they jump ship fast.

The way I look at it:  if you are mature enough to have sexual intercourse, then you are also mature enough to have a conversation about the realities laced therein.  Talk to your lover and ask him about his history, now is a good time as any, and tell him about your HPV.  At the very least, you are preventing the proliferation of a mean little disease.  At best, you are owning your body, your actions, and your sexual relationship and rising to the occasion like a proper fierce woman.

Click here for tips on telling your partner about your STD and/or  clickhere.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Condoms & Oral Sex

In Health and Body, Sex on April 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Dear Yenta,

Is it true that I need to use a condom if I have casual oral sex? It seems stupid and not fun to suck on latex. What is my risk factor?

-Blowing on a Balloon

Protect that pout. Bloody oral sores are not so sexy. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear BOAB,

What exactly does “casual” mean to you? Casually hanging out with your husband or wife on the couch while watching the Simpson’s? My guess is, no, presuming you are in a monogamous relationship with someone who is STD free. But if casual means doing it with a stranger in a subway janitor closet, or even someone you just met at a bar/party/football game, then yes, watch your mouth.

STD’s can hit you from all angles. It comes down to the mucus membranes in your mouth and the pre-cum, ejaculate, or vaginal fluids involved in oral sex that can penetrate those membranes. Combine the two, throw in a disease, and depending on the type, you got it, baby. For example, Gonorrhea and Herpes are easy to get in the mouth, and HIV too. For specifics on the whole array of STD’s and oral transmission, visit Yes, it is easier to get these through vaginal or anal sex, but that does not mean it is not possible to contract them in the mouth as well. For more, click here. suggests you “Look Before You Lick.” Check that area before you get your face all up in it, some signs show, like open sores, warts, funny colored discharge, etc. There is also the “wrap his penis in vinegar” method that should coax undetected warts beneath the skin into visibility. Then again, STD’s often show NO signs at all for six months, sometimes even years. Your best bet is to get tested and then go down.

And if patience is not your virtue: USE PROTECTION. If you can’t handle using a condom, at least do your damndest to avoid pre-cum, cum, and/or vaginal secretion. Again, this method is faulted. You may end up with open mouth sores. Period.

Dental dams are SMART. Use one. Or, some tips from on choosing a proper condom for oral sex:

1) Ixnay in the spermidice, it will taste like crap and numb out your tongue. Pregnancy, unlike STD’s, cannot be contracted from oral sex, so why bother killing the sperm?

2) Flavored condoms can be fun, but some are not actually going to protect you for shite. ALWAYS read the label first.

3) Those of you who read regularly know not to use oil-based food products with condoms. Oil and latex don’t mix. The oil causes the latex to disintegreate and ruins your preventative measure. Click here for a list of foods you can use with a condom that won’t ruin it.

4) Click here for tips on putting a condom on with your mouth to make the deed less difficult.

Yes, protecting yourself in this day and age can be exhausting. But truth be told, if you have the right attitude, even safe sex can be amazing, if not more so. Especially when you wake up without an itchy, scratchy, pus-filled wounded…GOOD LUCK!

Have a question? ASK YENTA! Write in to attn: merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

His Dry Orgasm

In Health and Body, Sex on April 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Dear Yenta,

This is awkward, but I am 28 and I don’t seem to be producing semen when I come. At all. Help?

-Dried Up

Stifler heads to the sperm bank.

Dear DU,

Again, a reminder/disclaimer: I am not a doctor. But I do have some mad Google skills and can help you with this one. What you are experiencing is called “Dry Orgasm.” According to, this condition is called “Azoospermia,” “the complete absence of ejaculate.” The Mayo Clinic explains that this is when “the semen goes into the bladder instead of out through the penis.” They say it is also called, “retrograde ejaculation.” Another good word for this, “anejaculation.”

In lieu of child-production and sperm, your lack of ejaculate could mean two things. Either 1) you are not producing any sperm at all or 2) you are producing sperm but it is mis-firing, ie, into the bladder or elsewhere.

What does this mean? You probably want to head to a doctor immediately. There is a chance you have a simple case of enlarged prostate, a valve issue, or some kind of blockage, but it could also be worse. There are a number of diseases and ailments ranging from cancer to a spinal chord injury that could be blocking your fluid flow. Diabetes is often connected to this issue.

Go to the doctor now, rather than later, because some of these issues can be remedied, upping your chances of a) thwarting the progression of a potential disease and b) possibly fixing the problem so you can, one day if you so choose, have babies.

For more details on examining and treating the issue, click here.

Public Nail Clipping

In Drama, Health and Body on April 6, 2010 at 2:57 am

Dear Yenta,

I feel like there are two types of people in the world. Those who think it’s ok to trim nails in public, and those who do not. What to do when someone starts cutting his nails right next to me on the subway, in class, or even at a restaurant?

-Nails Are Nasty

Nail clipping in public is a form of defecation.

Dear NAN,

Wow. Well, for this it completely depends on the circumstance. Is this a friend or a stranger? Where do they leave their clippings? Is it done neatly, or is it quite obviously grotesque?

Some girlfriends and I once decided to give ourselves pedicures in the grass in Dupont Circle on a sunny day. That might have been gross in and of itself. But what really repulsed us was when a man who had not bathed in a long time approached us asking if he could use our nail clipper. He stood over us and clipped away, dropping nail chunks all around us. In that case, it was our nail clippage karmic return that we brought upon ourselves.

We gave the man the nail clippers for keeps and learned a good lesson about grooming in public. It is gross, and breeds grossness. What can you do in a situation with a stranger? Get up and walk away. If the nail clipper person is bleeding or leaving flesh/nail debris in a public place, like on a bus, you can notify the driver since it is a violation of health code.

It makes me think of when people pick their nose and wipe it on the subway seats. There should be a civilian elicited ticket that we can give people who smear their body excesses in public forays.

If it is a friend, just tell it like it is. “Hey buddy, you are being repulsive. Would you mind waiting to sever the edges of extremities when I am not attempting to hold my dinner down?” There are obvious nicer ways to say it, and it is not rude to ask someone to take care of their personal hygiene in private. Another example: public flossing. This absolutely disgusts me.

Walk away, state your case, or one up the mofo and start farting or picking your nose and when they scoff just look at them calmly and say: “You started it.” Boom. The end.

How Do I Support Them Through Chemotherapy?

In Health and Body on March 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Dear Yenta,

I just found out that my close friend’s mother has cancer. They have been good family friends since high school. She is undergoing intensive chemotherapy as I write this and I am really sad about it. Can I do anything to help? I don’t know what my place is, do I call? Write? Email? Who do I support, my friend or the family, and how?


Cancer Sucks

Positivity can be a sufferer's salve.

Dear CS,

Thank you so much for asking this important question. Cancer touches all of our lives and finding ways to navigate illness and friendship can be very difficult. My first words of advice are to follow your heart. This sounds simple and obvious, but it is often the last thing we remember to do in these situations. Where does your instinct take you? To comforting your friend? To sending your love to their mother? Or do you feel the need to care for yourself first?

When people are sick, they are generally terrified and in pain. This is a horrible combination, and often horrifying for the onlooking community members. The greatest thing you can do for someone who is suffering is to be fearless. This means looking at their broken heart, their decaying body, their excruciating suffering and being able to see it without balking.

This is a tall order and very few people can handle it. It means smiling even when someone is coughing up blood, seeing their beauty and not shying away in fear of their and your mortality. This translates quite simply to caring for yourself so you can care for others. Fearlessness comes when we feel safe in our bodies, in our communities and in our minds. This means that in order to be there for your friend and their family you need to up your own self-care so that when they come to you crying, you have the strength to hold them up.

So. My simpler advice on caring for the families of those suffering from cancer: be dependable, be kind, and be real. If you can’t handle the gruesome elements of physical decay, stay on the periphery with consistent phone calls, e-mails, letters or packages, checking in regularly. This doesn’t need to be “hey, how is dealing with the demise of your mother’s life?” but more, “how was your day?”

A simple and regular conversation goes a very long way; it offers a safe place to be normal. It shows your friend that you are there, to experience all elements of life, the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens. This is the first thing you can do for your friend, and by extension, for their mother.

The only rule with phoning the sick/suffering is that you can’t need anything in that call. Your job, when they are ill or grieving, is to give and be strong so they can feel normal and at peace. This doesn’t mean always asking and probing, just not needing. It means keeping your end light, and their end however they want it to be. ie, if they want to hear about your problems, share, but let things be on their terms and expect nothing in return, not gratitude, not kindness, nothing.

All their energy will be going towards staying alive. So when you call, prep yourself in advance. Make sure your tears have already been shed, your back already rubbed. We are there, when people are suffering and dying, to comfort, not to be comforted.

Other things: send a simple e-mail, “I love you.” Send little packages of things, be a bright light in their dark days. Imagine what cheered you up when you were down, or what you wished for, and offer up your dream friendship to another. Send cards, drawings, thoughts and gifts. Just let them know, in a million ways, that you are thinking of them, that you value their life, and that you can handle the gruesome underbelly of humanity.

Again, a fearless face when you are terrified can be nearly angelic. Smile, be positive, don’t be afraid to open and wield your heart. Someone in pain ALWAYS recognizes goodness and kindness, even if at the time they don’t have the words to show it.

For other ideas, or ways to help cancer patients:
E-mail any questions, fears or concerns to the live support group at the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Call 1-800-813-HOPE to help yourself with your own grief/sadness so you can help them. This is a free service from
Volunteer for or steal ideas from and
Read these tips from cancer survivors on how to be there for a friend in chemo.
Search the Shared Experience Cancer Support Database for online answers to all your questions from first hand accounts.

Penis Power w/ Alexyss K. Tylor

In Health and Body, Sex on March 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

And now, a word from another…

Alexyss K. Tylor, author, lecturer, motivational, speaker, and television host is best known for her talks on Vagina Power.

Described as annoying and often hilarious, behind the facade she has plenty to teach us.

For her column at, click here. See below for a tutorial on Penis Power. Other video topics to browse: “Sperm Power,” “Spiritual Sexuality,” “Penis Addictions,” “A Man’s Life Force Is In His Nuts,” and many more.

Find Alexyss on Twitter under the name “Vagina Power.”

She Can’t Stop Masturbating

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Enough is enough. (Ella vibrator/G-spot stimulator from

Dear Yenta,

I’m a woman in my late 20’s. I live alone & I have a boyfriend in another country. When I’m busy I watch porn. Sometimes one cum isn’t enough, I have to have 2 or 3 before I stop. Then, it’s 12 am and I haven’t even started what I have to do for the night. It’s affecting my sleep and my productivity. How can I still get my orgasmic needs taken care of while not cheating, or without completely wrecking my nights?

-Horny and Hating It

Dear HHI,

When your orgasms start interfering with your ability to accomplish basic tasks, then you know you have a problem. As much as I am a fan of sex and sexual exploration, open-minded self-loving and general sexual satisfaction, I think this is about way more than “orgasmic need.”

An orgasm can easily be confused with other emotions. When one needs a constant orgasmic release, this might have little to nothing to do with sex, and way more to do with an excess of energy in the body, most often nervous energy, that should be handled in ways far more satisfying than chronic masturbation. It sounds as if you are projecting your life’s anxiety onto your orgasm.

In a number of religious and spiritual practices there is a lot of attention placed on training, suppressing, or fine-tuning sexual energy. I know only a little about chakras, but it sounds to me like you might need yours balanced out. Instead of focusing on how to find the most mind-blowing orgasm, you may want to find other ways to calm your body and mind. Also, look into the emotions wrapped up in your porn addiction: what is it that you are using this practice to exit from? What is your sex practice connected or disconnected to?

Deep Breathing, Qigong, Meditation, Yoga, Acupuncture, Reiki, Acupressure, Reflexology, Running, Swimming, Dancing, Singing: these are all ways of either expelling or redirecting that groin region buzzing. You will probably then find that with slight masturbatory abstinence and a lot of OTHER physical activity, that every orgasm counts for more.

I.e., there are two ways of coming for a woman. (Probably like fifty to a million ways of coming, but here are two disparate examples.) One: you come, come again, come again and keep going for as long as you feel but never are present in your body, nervously triggering the musculature of your interior into a skittish “pleasure” frenzy. OR, Two: you come once, twice, three-five times, but the quantity does not matter. In those instances you are present in your body, experience every nuance of sensation because you are calm and coming to sex for the experience rather than the release.

This kind of orgasm is supreme. It will build and as it does, you will feel that steady increase in intensity. And then, the orgasm itself will be something you can feel not just with your vagina, but also with your feet, your arms, your heart, etc. Obviously this is not the case for everyone, but for you, this is the goal. Stop triggering your clit like a murderous gun and learn to be still with your body so that each orgasm individually satisfies you in a deeper, more comprehensive way.

All in all, my friend, you may simply be a sex/porn/masturbation addict. For help with this and more, try these resources.

Sex Addicts Anonymous

Or, you could try seeing a Sexologist, like this one in San Diego, to explore what you are projecting onto your orgasms.

Another avenue, Tantric Coaching.

Or, try this stellar option. It is a CD of subliminal sound training meant to hipnotize you out of your sexual hunger.

Is Semen Vegan?

In Health and Body, Sex on March 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm

For a vegan, the thought of 40-600 million of those bad boys sliding down their throat might not be a turn on.


I am newly a dedicated Vegan. I loved, I mean LOVED, giving head, but suddenly feel a new gag reflex coming on when I think about it. Can I swallow the products of a human body without morally violating my vegan code?



Dear Milk-Free,

First, a definition. Vegan, according to “A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.” Why? They say it is because it is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle.

There is a forum on Chuck Palahniuk’s website asking “Do Vegans Swallow Semen?” One guy says, “This is more like…I don’t know…licking the spoon after mixing cake batter? It is, after all, human milk.” One vegan writes, “I look at it the same way as eggs, cheese, milk, butter, and so on and so forth. If you eat those then semen shouldn’t be wrong, otherwise it is. Vegans don’t eat animal byproducts either, semen is produced from men as all those are made from cows.” And still a third, “the guy is giving his semen (I assume) WILLINGLY whereas most vegetarians/vegans would agree that the cows sure as heck aren’t.”

Ok! So when it comes to veganism and semen consumption, it boils down to the vegan’s intention. If you are adhering to this food law based on a desire not to consume any product of human or animal, then yes, giving head is newly un-kosher. This, however, also bans kissing. I.e., saliva and semen are no different in terms of both being human (animal) fluids.

But it is my understanding that most vegans choose the lifestyle based on a desire to bypass animal cruelty. For example, as said in the Washington Post segment, “Modern Meat, A Brutal Harvest,” “hogs, unlike cattle, are dunked in tanks of hot water after they are stunned to soften hides for skinning. As a result, a botched slaughter condemns some hogs to being scalded and drowned.”

So. A few scenarios: Because giving head is not, in most cases, an act of cruelty, (unless, perhaps, scalding water is involved) and because no life is harmed in the act, then the product of a blow job should be vegan. Now, if your lover suddenly starts eating large quantities of pork, squid, veal, etc and then you go down on them, the content of their body no longer aligns with vegan law. I.e., if those pigs were put in captivity and raised as bacon, it don’t float with the vegans.

You are, in this case, what you eat. As one slightly gruesome person wrote in to an online discussion of vegan semen, “I would say NO because they would not put the (meat) in their mouth it the first place.” Another person argued that humans swallow their own “spittle” all the time, so would that make us cannibals?

Now, if you give head to people to torture them, or going down is an act of rape, then the ejaculate is no longer vegan. I.e., that is in violation of the preservation of life/no-cruelty to animals bit. Consent alters the morality of semen consumption.

A note on the content of semen: Semen contains citric acid, free amino acids, fructose, enzymes, phosphorylcholine, prostaglandin, potassium, and zinc. One amount of ejaculate may contain between 40 million to 600 million sperm depending on the volume and the length of time stored before ejaculating. Now, that means that 40-600 million live organisms go swimming down your throat. That being said, regardless of the high protein and zinc in semen, in lieu of veganism, that is consuming, like, a whole lot of itty-bitty lives.

All in all, this is what it boils down to:

1) No semen for a vegan who doesn’t eat animal products for the sake of not eating animal products.
2) No semen for a vegan if the semen-producer is a meat/animal-product eater.
3) No semen for a vegan if the semen is a product of rape.

And finally, in the words of Tom Regan, PhD, as quoted in’s “Why Vegan, Boycott Cruelty!” pamphlet, “I think everybody has that capacity to stop and think and say, ‘If I knew you, I wouldn’t eat you.’”

Happy frolicking.

Addendum: This just in via Facebook: “a single cell protein ….. means NOT vegan! So sorry … I love giving head as well! Not Vegan! Sucks.” Thank you, Ma’am.

Wet And Messy On A Diet

In Health and Body, Sex on February 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Swap Ragu for pig's blood and Carrie becomes a splosher's dreamwoman.

Dear Yenta,

I love sploshing, but tend to gain weight. What are some low-cal but squishy options?

-Saucy Mess

Dear Saucy Mess,

I needed to get educated for this one. Sploshing, for those of you who don’t know, is “the act of placing food on another person, and usually eating it off of them, for pleasure. A full-bodied food fetish,” according to

So, if you are thinking, “Oh, I get it, whipped cream!” Think again. This is more like pouring sloppy joe all over someone to garner a slight toddler-esque mess spilled on an adult naked body. This is like sexual food sport.

Another definition from UrbanDictionary: “A sexual/sensual food exchange, in which at least one person covers another person in foods of different tastes, textures, and temperatures. Eating the food off said person is optional. It is common practice for the “sploshee” to be nude so as to heighten the feeling of the food on their bare skin. The “splosher” can be nude or clothed based on preference.”

Apparently there are whole communities of “sploshers” and a big pornographic web presence of women who soil themselves with mud and real home-cooking. Another way to identify a sploshing community is through the term “Wet and Messy” or “WAM.” A few sites, for those of you over 18 and not afraid of dirt, grime, slime and spaghetti-O’s: The Ultimate Messy Directory or Also, check out this article from the UK Mirror, written on Valentine’s Day for the romantic.

I don’t splosh, but I do know food. So, here is a list of foods that won’t make you fat if you are a regular splosher. One splosher recommends, “cheeses and organ meats; they can be very fragrant, and quite healthful.” When choosing your foods look at texture, temperature, scent and taste to enhance sensation. Remember, everything in moderation. Too much guacamole might yield weight gain. Also, tailor this list to your own diet needs, ie, Atkin’s, vegan, South Beach etc. Happy squishy sploshing.

Apple Butter
Scrambled Tofu
Baked Beans
Chili Black Bean
Soy Sloppy Joes
Mu Shu Vegetables
Won Ton Soup
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Fruit Salad
Green Split Peas
Fat-free Pudding
Sautéed Mushrooms
Steamed Artichokes
Whey protein shake
Sweet Potato Puree
Olive Oil
Cottage Cheese
Lentil Soup
Miso Soup
Brown Rice
Palak Paneer
Banana Squished
Sugar-free Jello
Pineapple Puree
Tuna Salad

When Is Rough Too Rough?

In Health and Body, Sex on February 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Lady Gaga says Papparazzi = Too Rough. MTV Video Music Awards.

Dear Yenta,

When is rough sex too rough?


Dear C,

It seems that the modus aperendum for my readership this week is pain in the bedroom. I recently attended a film series here in Provincetown at the art museum. We watched the horrifying and enlightening: “Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.” This film will illustrate how unbelievably far rough can really go, without being too rough.

What did I learn from watching a man put nails through his shaft, allowing his partner to whip slice and punch him? That which I perceive as violence might be another man’s medicine. In other words, the limits of roughness have to do with consent, delight, communication and pleasure based on individual need, preference and limitation.

If you find your roughness is causing profuse blood-letting, step back and question, “Does my partner like bleeding a lot? Is this fun for them, as fun as it is for me?”

As seen in “Doing it Rough, Safe” and “He Ignores My Safe Word,” there is a complex art of setting a sexual code so that rough behavior doesn’t do actual damage.

The only finite sex rule I would spread throughout the land is to be sure you have a sense of the existence, desires and sensibilities of your sexual partner. Whomever or whatever you choose to be rough with, make sure you know well enough the difference between a cry for help and a cry of intense ecstasy. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communicate before you do it, while you do it, after you do it.

Rough sex is too rough when someone stops enjoying themselves, feels silenced, goes to the emergency room, dies – either physically, mentally or spiritually, and so forth. Rough sex is too rough when you didn’t check to see if it was ok to slap their ass, didn’t check to see if they like being tied up, didn’t check to see if they like it when you ram them so hard they lose a kidney.

I am just a mostly vanilla Yenta. For advanced assistance, check out, BDSM Sex Educator and Author Lolita Wolf’s website.

For help on both ends, try The New Bottoming Book or The New Topping Book, both by respected authors Janet W. Harding and Dossie Easton. Also, at your own risk, try porn star Penny Flame’s Expert Guide to Rough Sex.

The line is fine, but easily walked with a bit of sensitivity and an open heart. There is an art to rough behavior, often tinged by intention. If sex is heartless and violent, cruel, abusive and lacks any form of humanistic sensitivity, step back and re-evaluate all sexual heroes.

Merissa Nathan Gerson | Create Your Badge