Category: Sexually Transmitted Infections

The new Hex condom by Lelo – condoms re-engineered

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In the early 1990’s I was a newly graduated Sex Therapist and just starting on radio. One of my radio sponsors was a major condom company. Grosses of condoms were delivered to my office and I gave them out at speeches, during sex education classes, and in abundance during frosh weeks at Colleges and Universities. I did condom water toss games, used them in a blindfold game on slippery dildos, and threw them to people across cafeterias. One of my favourite activities was to show how easy it was to break or denature the condoms by rolling them up to your shoulder or covering them with oil. The kids in my life grew to think that all balloons came with a reservoir tip. It was great, and I spent lots of time with latex of all colours.

But the truth about latex is that using condoms isn’t nearly as much fun as having no condoms when you are going to have hard, sweaty intercourse. Flavoured rubbers, with extra lubricant, ribbed and extra sensitive all help with increasing the pleasure, but there is still a noticeable barrier. My partner really does insist “he feels no sensation at all using condoms and it really is like wearing a raincoat”. Not having a penis, I take his (and the thousands of other men I’ve spoken to over the last 20 odd years about sex) word that condoms can limit the sensuality of the experience.

The female perspective is that semen can be cool. Messy but cool. We may ejaculate, but we don’t make semen. Semen has been proven to do a number of positive things. One ejaculate of semen contains over 200 proteins, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, citric acid, fructose, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin B12 and zinc. And condoms by their nature of blocking the transmission of fluids limits the fun and beneficial interaction with semen.
So when the Swedish sex toy manufacturer Lelo says they have a new revolutionary condom it generates lots of interest. The condom has been using the same premise and basic shape since the 19thth century. If Lelo can build a better mousetrap while maintaining the benefits of no STI transmission and pregnancy prevention then it is worth a look.

Introducing Hex, the new re-engineered condom by Lelo. When you take it out of the box it certainly looks high tech. Ribbed with little hexagonal shapes all over, it espouses to be stronger than traditional condoms. It rolls on the same as usual and the texture with the raised hexagons while a little different isn’t enough for you to notice anything really unusual if you put it on in the dark.

However, it felt very similar to having no condom for me while in use. It didn’t have that rubbery feeling or the burning sensation you can get from latex, as any woman who has used a cheap, latex vibrator knows. And according to my husband, the hexagons felt different to my partner on the head of the penis. The Hex condoms were less likely to slip, and the material was thinner overall. While he said “he still had limited sensation, it was the best feeling condom ever”. And that’s saying something. As well, we tried really hard to break it. So the Hex condom was stretchy, strong and with a raised shape inside for less slipping. Maybe it is re-engineered. And while I’m not likely to go jumping up and down excitedly and tell everyone who will listen (unlike my first experience with Ora, Lelo’s oral sex toy that is one of the 7 wonders), it made reviewing a condom the way they were actually made to be used a fun and interesting experience. They are selling them online. Try them for yourself and see if you can feel a difference. I would be interested in hearing if you did.

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Baby Boomers sex and those sexual infections. Prudent or paranoid?

couples1We Baby Boomers are a randy bunch. It turns out that many a Boomers are doing the boom at least a few times a month. Although I am almost a Gen X born at the end of the free love of the 60’s, I have certainly been influenced by my Mother who burned her bra with Betty Freidan and my Dad who discoed up a storm.

It turns out that in the spirit of “love thy Neighbor” has continued to the Boomers who are now 50 plus. And they are doing it without as much latex as they should. They are grown ups, you think they would know better. The number of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) are up among older adults. It’s something to be worried about yes, but is it an epidemic? There is a place in Central Florida call The Villages that hit the news because their STI percentage rates in people over 60 were up. But The stats are alarmist. The numbers are really cases that went from 5 reported in a year to 9 reported in a year. But with a 40% increase it hit USA today as a story.

The number of reportable STI’s in the entire City of Ottawa in 2010 was 2926. That’s a population of over 1 million people. The number of cases reported in people over the age of 44 was 51.

51 cases over 44 in over 1 million people. Should you be aware – yes. Should the risk of sexual infections keep you up night and prevent you from taking someone new for a test drive, I think if you’re careful -no. However, I’ll let you decide.

“For baby boomers the situation may be a bit more complicated. To begin with, there are physical changes that may increase the risk of infection. As women age, the Student BMJ researchers noted,the thinning of the lining of the vagina and a loss of lubrication make tiny abrasions more likely, creating entry points for viruses. Change in vaginal pH after menopause may also increase risk.”

More and more senior adults are trying online and multiple partner dating and may think that STI’s are something that doesn’t impact them. Add that to the use of Cialis, Viagra and the new Staxyn drugs and you’ve got sex going on longer, and more vigorously later in life (yeah!)

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself. Here is the steps I advise to anyone having multiple partners.
1. Get the Twinrix Hepatitis A and B vaccine to protect you from 2 of the 3 Hepatitis infections. Hep C is transmitted through blood.

2. Get the Gardasil vaccine. It prevents the HPV virus transmission and the contracting of genital warts and cervical cancer. Even men can get the vaccine so they can prevent the transmission of the virus. Don’t let your physician tell you that men don’t need it. You can assure any potential partners that you are clean of the possibility of warts. And HPV is transmitted by touch so condoms alone won’t prevent the transmission.

3. Get a back up 10 day supply of antibiotics. Doctors are reluctant to just give you some, but many will give you a prescription if you are traveling. If the condom breaks, or you have an unprotected experience you can use a dose of antibiotics to prevent any bacteria based STI like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

4. Oral sex and manual sex (hand jobs) are fairly safe provided there is no cold sores or rash present or if there is a foul infectious odor. In any case of bacteria STI’s I have ever seen, there was a smell or rash. A sniff and a check under the hood in bright light means that oral can be done without much risk of transmission.

5. Sorry, but for intercourse, condoms are the only thing that prevents transmission.

Follow the steps, get tested, and be prudent (not paranoid that doesn’t have you leaving the house) and you can be one of those hot, sexy seniors. If you are a hip Boomer (or younger) and want to stay sexy (while not turning into your parents) consider joining the Duckling social group. Sexy but safe is our mission statement.