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The First Few Hours of the Day, Will It Get Better?

So today I had to wake up early because I had to squeeze some client-work in in the morning. I enjoy my job, because it allows me to earn some extra money just to help with filling-the-wallet. Also, because I have interest and passion in my line of work, it makes it a lot easier than those who struggle and hate what they do everyday. However, despite the bright and hot weather today, I feel “under the weather” – literally.

When I woke up, I’m a person who’s usually hungry and just waiting to chomp down on breakfast. While I did have a large dinner last night, there was plenty of time for it to digest (as I didn’t sleep until 3) and it had already been.. umm “removed” from my digestive system before I went to bed anyways. Nevertheless, waking up this morning, I had that bloated, don’t-feel-like-eating feeling again and apparently that’s what happens I feel anxiety and stress.  I feel short-of-breath and no matter how much oxygen I fill in my lungs, it doesn’t feel enough. Coincidentally, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I don’t even feel inclined to go, because the easiest thing for me to do right now is just to die.

I was on a time-crunch in the morning today because once I finish typing this short entry, I’m heading out to Scarborough with my mom. The past 3 days have been wonderful for the most part, I had enjoyed 2 wonderful days with  bebe and I had felt ever-so-close to her, despite her daily struggles with me. Call me crazy, call me in love and no matter how much she doesn’t love me yet, I truly do love her and while her feelings withstanding are valid and questioning whether we will truly work out, there’s nothing that will stop me from giving my all to win her over. When the relationship first started, I was still adamant about rooting her here and as time progressed and I realized I loved her even more than before, all of a sudden I thought to myself if she really went back home to Malaysia, I will still relocate myself to there just to be with her… it’s amazing how love can make us feel and even change us from something we would dare not have thought possible before.

Before I headed out to the client’s this morning, I puked for no apparent reason… It wasn’t the food I ate last night as it wasn’t one of those “food poisoning” type of pukes… it was an empty puke, just a sick-to-my-stomach from worry type. I felt dehydrated after that, so downed some water. I jetted out the door since I needed to make sure I was on-time. When I came home, I nearly puked again and spent a few minutes hunched over the toilet. Again, heart racing, mind’s confused and I’m constantly questioning why humans were given feelings and life… it would be so much easier to have never existed, I would not be feeling this today. My stomach is clearly empty, yet feels full and right now I’m scooping away at some broth my mom made and as well as ONE egg. My body isn’t accepting the food and I almost feel like I’m wasting whatever I’m eating because unlike my usual-self, I “enjoy” the process of eating. Eating makes me happy, especially good food – yet, not this morning.

I don’t know if I’m actually sick, shouldn’t be, because I know my body well enough to know it’s not ‘outer’ sickness. It’s just that not-so-great feeling today, yet, the past 2 days I’ve had with bebe has made me smile and cherish every moment I have with her and I will continue to cherish these days unconditionally. We have ups and downs, just like any other couple, we fall in and out of our emotions and we both are rational enough to question where this relationship is headed, both positively and negatively. We are interestingly like many other couples and at the same time, not like other couples. We are not like other couples, because there isn’t an immediate positive-feeling of attraction and we don’t do the same things other couples do, at the same time, we’re very much like them because so many people I know have gone through the feelings of hating the guts and never imagining they could be with X-person, to loving X-person for the rest of their lives. One would say I live in a world of fantasy, but that is not the case, I am in-touch with reality and also have SEEN reality time-and-time again prove that love can truly touch someone, no matter what they feel at-the-moment.

Now I need to head out, still not feeling better but at least I’ll try to survive the day. However, not being able to breath properly and not ingest food probably won’t help very much. When I see bebe on Thursday again, I will feel better 🙂

——–

4:15PM… day has only gotten better because I had a chance to get my mind off missing bebe and worrying about her. Helped an uncle correct some problems he had with his computer, but throughout the past 4 hours and even while driving (super dangerous I should add), I kept on yawning and my eyes are trying to close on their own. Right now, I’m still yawning in 15 minute intervals because I feel drained. This feels like a mental drain on me and I’m sure that trying to upkeep such a difficult relationship is the same for bebe. I don’t ever doubt that both of us suffer as a result of trying to make this work, just that the difference is I feel the need to make the relationship work because this is WORTH IT. When I see bebe struggle, it hurts me just as much, but it’s because I feel so committed to this relationship I’m willing to go to any extent, which includes suffering for the both of us. In the end, I wonder what will happen between us, but what’s important I learned from my favourite ex that rather than thinking so far down the road, just think about 1-2 years now, if that, because we don’t really know what will happen in all the time in between and that to just be happy now is integral to our well-being. Whether bebe ever likes me is still in question, but what’s not in question is what I’m willing to do to win her over, despite how painful it may get for either of us. I love her… Going to take a nap on the sofa until we go out for dinner, but I’m completely drained and I’m considering taking a day off for tomorrow, particularly with a doctor’s appointment which I really don’t care too much about going to now. What good is my health if I can’t use my life to love and take care of bebe for the rest of my life?

You ARE Loved: Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness

I have been struggling to come up with topics to write about, or rather, maybe just unmotivated, hah… however, I decided to go today and write on a topic that I’ve been meaning to write and post for a while. Toxic Shock Syndrome is known for many tampon users, yet, how knowledgeable are we about TSS to help us make an informed decision for the good of our health? I’m not here to necessarily debate whether I think tampons are a “good” form of feminine hygiene product, but today, we will concentrate on TSS alone and while there may be references to tampons, I’m neither “against” them or “for” them.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus

So what is toxic shock syndrome and like many infections, the name “doesn’t sound good already.” TSS is potentially fatal and caused by a bacterial infection which is usually associated with tampon use. There are multiple viruses which may trigger TSS, however, the most common one for tampon-related TSS infections is called Staphylococcus aureus. Despite what has been said and the belief that TSS only occurs in women who use tampons, this is not true. In fact, men and women are both capable of being infected with this bacterium and tampons are not the only cause of TSS. TSS has surfaced since 1980 and even after 31 years, women are still dying from tampon-related TSS. We may not think much of TSS, because there is very little publicity on it and with enough taboo around menstruation, people are not open to aptly speak about menstrual/feminine hygiene related deaths. It takes a very brave woman (Lisa Elifritz), the owner of You ARE Loved to raise public awareness about TSS and tell a very personal story about the challenges she faced with TSS in the death of her daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz.

TSS infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus can occur in a healthy individual and usually show through flu-like symptoms, particularly with high-fever exceeding 38.9 °C (102.02 °F), along with low blood-pressure, confusion, vomitting, diarrhea, weakness, coma and in more severe/terminal stages, multiple organ failure. Tampon related TSS symptoms also include a typical skin rash which is characterized as being severely painful at the site of the infection. TSS can be managed if discovered soon and with proper treatment, recovery occurs usually in 2 to 3 weeks. However, because of the destructive nature of the bacteria and TSS, death can occur within hours of the onset of the symptoms. Treatment within the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is necessary for full supportive care, along with antibiotic treatment and toxin-reduction drugs.

Reported TSS cases dropped off rapidly after 1981 when 40 women died of tampon-related TSS and stayed “under the radar” for many years, until the fear of tampons begin to taper off. Tampon-related TSS struck fear in many women at the time, however, as girls begin to get their periods at younger ages in this generation, more of them are opting to use tampons and thus, exposing them to the causative bacteria at a younger age and also increasing the likelihood that they may be candidates for bacterial growth leading to tampon-related TSS. The triggering point for attention towards TSS was in a controversial testing of a tampon usable for an entire menstrual period called Rely by Procter and Gamble (P&G) in 1978. The tampon would, by design, be able to last an entire period without leakage or replacement and is said to be capable of absorbing almost 20 times its own weight. After several reported cases of TSS in menstruating women, the spotlight turned to tampons as the cause and eventually the product was pulled off the shelf.

People under the ages of 30 are less likely to have the antibodies to fight off Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, making individuals more susceptible to contracting TSS. Even the most diligent individuals such as Amy Rae Elifritz can be infected by this bacterium, despite regular changing of the tampon, alternating of menstrual products and using the lowest absorbency necessary for the menstrual flow at the time. While detection of TSS symptoms might be more obvious while menstruating, TSS can also occur any time within the menstrual cycle and menstruation does not need to be present, as bacteria may take time to build up or if chemicals/materials are left behind in the body, such as leftover rayon fibers from a removed tampon. Because symptoms of TSS are too much like the common-flu and become deadly in a very short period of time, it’s so hard to determine whether or not it’s necessary to seek medical attention and of course, most people would not want to be too aggressive in thinking they have TSS every time they get some flu-like symptoms. Nevertheless, some would argue that because of the severity of the infection, it’d be better to be on the “safe side.”

So how can one mitigate or avoid the risk of TSS? With over half the reported TSS cases being attributed to tampons, it is a reality, not just a myth. For those who have never bothered to heed the warning of tampon pamphlets, here’s a rundown with some of my input and additional tips offered by the You ARE Loved team:

  • Use the lowest possibly absorbency to handle your menstrual flow
  • The higher the absorbency of the tampon, the greater the risk of TSS
  • Change tampons frequently and look for signs of any tampon remnants which might be left behind (such as shredding as you withdraw)
  • Avoid using tampons overnight
  • Tampon-related TSS bacteria require 8 hours to dissipate, therefore, use other products whenever possible throughout the day
  • Tampons are NOT meant to absorb discharge, vaginal fluid or ‘just-in-case’ situations; Tampons should only be used when menstruation has begun
  • Tampon choice should allow for comfortable insertion and removal, such as being saturated enough to remove easily and comfortable enough to put in. Forcing a tampon in or out may cause minute scratches in the vaginal wall, giving the bacteria an entry for further infection
  • Be hygienic and wash your hands before touching your vaginal area, including clean-handling method for your tampon
  •  Remember to remove the last tampon of your period
  • Do remember that as “very rare” that tampon manufacturers may want you to feel about the use of tampons associated with TSS, it is a very serious and real risk
  • Consider alternate menstrual products, such as sanitary napkins (pads), sea sponges, menstrual cups or natural tampons (usually made from cotton, non-bleached and not composed with rayon)
  • Don’t let TSS-risk slip you over time; Just because TSS hasn’t affected you yet, it doesn’t mean it never will

So what do you do if you believe you or someone else you know has been compromised or showing symptoms of TSS?

  • If using a tampon, remove it immediately as this eliminates the source of the bacteria infection
  • Seek medical attention and alert the emergency operator and/or emergency crew that the illness may be toxic shock syndrome related
  • Avoid using tampons in the future as reinfection is a high possibility

Certainly in the future if I have a little girl, I would certainly give her the choice of using any menstrual product she prefers. Nevertheless, should tampons be her choice of products, I would make sure to educate her on proper tampon handling and hygiene, along with ensuring that cotton tampons are purchased over conventional rayon-based ones. If each and every one of these women fallen can make the world aware of TSS, then at least their deaths will not be for naught.

I would recommend anyone who is interested in learning more about TSS and the story of the Elifritz, please visit: http://www.you-are-loved.org/ and also considering making a DONATION to their cause (due to the site design, I cannot directly link to the donate section).

*NEW* Always Infinity Pads @ Costco

*NEW* Always Infinity Pads @ Costco

*NEW* Always Infinity Pads @ Costco

For those who have Costco membership, Costco now stocks Always Infinity pads! According to their ad, the pad: “Made with a revolutionary material called Infinicel™, Always Infinity® provides non-stop absorbency for up to 8 hours.”

Most of the packs in regular retail stores usually only sell them in the extra-sized box of 30’s, but since Costco is all about jumbo-sizing of everything, these ones come in 60’s, essentially “two” double-packs. I haven’t went to Costco yet, so I’m not sure if they will be carrying all 3 absorbency of the pads: regular, heavy and overnight (the picture shows the green heavy ones).

If anyone happens to go to Costco and has further details, please feel free to let me know, especially the price! Seems like Costco’s website hasn’t quite updated with this new product yet, but it will be listed under #221208 when it’s available online, otherwise, it should be already on-the-shelf by now!

Female Masturbation Education

I guess doing so many posts about periods; I’ve occasionally felt compelled to read up on many things related to women’s health. I suppose there’s not all too many things that are exciting about male health, so that’s why I have little drive to write about it – or maybe it’s because I don’t feel naturally attracted to it, lol. Today, I’d like to take some time to talk about female masturbation, hopefully in an educational stance. As with many of my posts, my information is from “what I read” and also “what I hear” from my girls or from women who have in the past felt comfortable sharing this information with me. No names will be used and I will try to generalize much of this information so it is not too revealing. Furthermore, I’m going to try to avoid making this a scientific post, but rather, write this in “laymen’s terms.” Before starting, I’d like to remind EVERYONE that masturbation has nothing to do with your virginity. I must’ve stated that a lot of time when talking about tampons, but whether you insert anything or not into the vagina for masturbation purposes, it does not take away your virginity. Virginity is ‘lost’ when you have sexual intercourse, whether with opposite or same-sex partners.

So what is masturbation? Masturbation is all about pleasuring oneself sexually with or without the intent of orgasm. Masturbation is “suitable” for all ages and in fact, masturbation often occurs even in young children (whether they recognize it or not), with more prominent masturbation occurring in the tween or teen years. Masturbation is not wrong, while in some religions or cultures, it might not be acceptable. Frankly speaking, many Asian girls I know have an utter distaste for masturbation, possibly from the upbringing that to touch yourself sexually is considered wrong, perverse, dirty, disgusting, and gross or I have even been challenged with, “Why would I do such a thing? EWWW..” It is actually quite unfortunate that Asian culture – more so for Asian women – do not like to accept masturbation as a “normal” and “acceptable” thing. Things as simple as having a discussion person-to-person or from viewing forums, non-Asian cultures tend to be much more open and accepting of masturbation, amongst many other taboo subjects, including menstruation.

Masturbation is a wonderful thing for many reasons and being able to attune to one’s body is a great experience for the individual themselves. Masturbation is sometimes associated with guilt, which should not be the case. Having spoken to a few female friends before on this topic that are “against” masturbation, many see it as if they were defiling themselves or that such actions would make them feel unclean as if it would ruin their chances of obtaining a partner. Speaking for myself, I would much prefer a girl who masturbates (or has) versus one who doesn’t. This doesn’t have to do with whether she shares it with me or not, but rather, the fact that she has intimate knowledge about her own body and is willing to surrender herself to the pleasure and orgasms. Most notably, you will find that women who do masturbate and know how to reach orgasm often report more sexual satisfaction even WITH a partner, because they understand themselves. To allow someone else to pleasure you, one must know how to pleasure themselves or recognize what it feels like TO be pleasured.

Furthermore, masturbation provides for a (relatively) safe method for sexual exploration, without the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Masturbation is highly associated with those who choose to follow an abstinence lifestyle while maintaining sexual sanity. The only general dangers of masturbation would be those who do it so often where it affects a normal lifestyle or where they may use objects which pose physical risks/harm when used for masturbation purposes. Masturbation often has stereotypes associated with it and perhaps that is where some of the non-acceptances of it may stem from. I’ve heard about many “jokes” about how masturbation is for guys or girls who “don’t have a person to have sex with” or for “the losers”. You will find that many people who have partners, whether dating or married, continue to masturbate. Many people who have great sex-lives masturbate and as mentioned before, it helps enhance ourselves. I know many of my girls share with me that they masturbate regularly and enjoy trying new techniques and products. Masturbation I think really encourages fostering self-love and positive body image. By opening our body to pleasure, we give ourselves opportunity to better ourselves and that is why I truly hope women take the time to explore themselves, whether they feel a sexual-drive or not, it will open the doors to a truly wonderful experience. I always want to encourage bebe to explore herself, not necessarily because I want to push her to have sex with me, but also because I feel this self-exploration will help her heart unlock and open-up when it comes to KNOWING what the feeling of touching and intimacy is supposed to feel like and what it’s all about. She likes sleeping because it feels great so I definitely hope she’ll give herself an opportunity to pleasure herself!

Female masturbation can be achieved in one of many ways, either by the most natural method of using ones hands and fingers, or objects. Younger girls because of the inaccessibility of sex toys, often use manual stimulation or stimulation by using household objects. My ex used to use a highlighter/pen, electric toothbrush and even a pocket-vibrator. Some of my girls enjoy using hand/finger stimulation because it allows us to be in-touch with our bodies in the most natural form. Since our hands and fingers are part of us, it doesn’t require us to “carry” anything extra for the purpose of masturbation and of course it is free, discrete, soundless and does not require consumables (battery). The act of touching oneself skin-to-skin is a very liberating feeling while immersing in the ecstasy of pleasure. Household objects such as cucumbers, hairbrush handles, pillows, arm-rest and such are known to be widely available to girls who do not have or do not wish to buy sex-toys. The alternative is the variety of sex toys for girls of age or those who have an older adult who are willing to buy it for them. Sex toys are generally not sold to those under 18, but an understanding sibling, friend or even parent can certainly obtain it for them and it is not illegal to USE it. As rare as the situation may come up, I would be more than happy to buy my son or daughter a sex-toy should they require. It’s a much better alternative for them to understand their bodies sexually, respect it and have a safe output for sexual needs rather than actually finding a guy/girl to satisfy their curiosity. Whatever objects are used, it is necessary to make sure it is clean/sterile and that it is respectful to the delicate vaginal/anal environment. An object which could “break” and “get lost” within your vagina/rectum is never a good idea. Preferably the object should also be “safe” for human contact, especially for internal human contact.

Females are lucky in the sense that they have so many erogenous zones, most notably nipples, vagina, clitoris and anus. Obviously it is also possible that women have erogenous zones in non-sexual parts of their bodies and ones which over the course of time I have discovered to be quite interesting. Since I don’t want to be overly revealing about the partners I’ve had, I won’t mention their “trigger points” and also because every woman is different as to what areas you can touch to get them turned on. One thing that is or should be well known is that most women require stimulation to their clitoris to reach the state of orgasm. Many women do not orgasm through direct stimulation inside their vaginal, but rather, an interconnected pleasure via their clit which causes them to “think” they receive pleasured through vaginal stimulation. While this idea may seem far-fetched since intercourse is highlighted usually by penile-vaginal insertion, I can certainly back this statement up by referencing Masters and Johnson, which states that, “Most women can only achieve orgasm through clitoral stimulation.” Most girls growing up do not discover masturbation because they put their fingers inside themselves, but most likely as a result of a euphoric feeling when they rub themselves against an object or when washing/touching their own body. One of my girls admitted to me the reason why she even found out that she can “feel good” when rubbing that area is because she was talking to her parents one time and sat on the arms of a chair and associated that rush of good-feel with that area of her body. As far as she was concerned at the time, her vaginal area has always been described to her as her ‘private part’ and for ‘peeing’ that she was completely unaware of the sexual pleasure which it brought. With all this said, certainly vaginal stimulation can bring pleasure and orgasm, but it is known that the clitoris’ sole purpose as part of the female sexual anatomy is to bring pleasure.

Now that we understand stimulation a bit, we can proceed to talk about the most common methods of stimulating. The most common method is rubbing the clit with fingers or the hand. Alternately a popular method called “fingering” is self-explanatory, where the girl moves her fingers in and out of her vagina. When using the fingering method, it is possible to stimulate the clit with a spare finger as well, thus heightening the feeling of sexual excitement. When sexual arousal occurs, the vagina begins to self-lubricate by releasing a substance used to make insertion easier. However, those who are experiencing “dry spells” or prefer addition lubrication, some women use their own saliva or 3rd party lube to help enhance the moment. Because the anus itself is also an erogenous zone, similar rubbing or insertion action can result in arousal. One can also stimulate their nipples by rubbing it or even licking/light bites. Household products are often used to replicate the purpose of sex-toys when they’re not available/practical. Sex toys are designed to target erogenous areas in a better method than what can be achieved with manual stimulation. For instance, sex-toys may be able to reach places that our hands and fingers may not be able to reach – or – may not be able to stimulate all at the same time. Vibrators, dildos, beads and clitoral stimulators are all meant to produce pleasure either from stimulation or insertion, most often a combination of both. Some products must be held or inserted into place while others can be “worn” so that it allows for hands-free operations. Vibrators, dildos and beads are usually inserted into the vaginal and meant to hit the g-spot or “shake in place” to help push against the vaginal walls to create pleasure. Stimulators are usually held on top of erogenous zones, such as over the clit or over the nipples. Alternate toys are also created for anal use as they need to vary in size and texture as to not damage the anal cavity. If you want something that is super-discrete, the shower head is a wonderful little invention.

So why is it great for girls to masturbate? With the most obvious feeling of a great orgasm for the girl and self-exploration, it is of great benefits for your future/current partner. There are many more women who complain about not being able to orgasm than men. Even women who are married and could possibly have had years of sex, may never have actually experienced orgasm. It is very sad, not only for a partner, but even for the individual herself. Sexual response and orgasms are not things that are generally “learned” from a partner, but rather, through the person themselves. This kind of relates to the whole, “in order to love someone, you must first learn to love yourself” – a statement that I’ve tried to communicate to my bebe, without seeming rash or that I’m constantly pressuring her to do more. For me, it is all about her and wanting to encourage her to accept her body which she has been beautifully given. This type of openness if she ever achieves it will be the stepping stones for our relationship as well because it opens our eyes to the many wonders of intimacy around us, giving us but a brief moment where we can be completely unguarded and absorb the pleasures of life and the world. The moment that a girl feels orgasm reaching, the pulses of excitement and the pleasure of vaginal contractions, I cannot think of anything else but breathlessness and clarity-of-mind for the girl. Some women feel their body is something to be shy of and lots admit they have never fully undressed and looked at themselves in the mirror. If they have, even a fewer portion has allowed themselves to inspect their body and let their hands move around. For many, the only time a girl will have done something like this is perhaps to do a breast exam or health inspection, but never to truly understand oneself. This is all meant to create self-love and foster self-confidence. If a woman is barely comfortable with looking at her OWN body, how can she accept a partner looking at her? Even like last night when I touched bebe’s face or as I held her, she was much too shy to look at me or take the time to savour my touches, but rather, probably felt uncomfortable with bodily contact which she is not used to or felt self-conscious.

I remember a conversation I had with one of my god-sis and she kept on insisting about this really “hot boy” she wanted to have sex with. I asked her how much she knew about her body and she said “not a lot” and I had asked her if she ever has touched herself or looked at her body. She said the only time she does that is when she takes a shower or gets dressed and that the touching is “not sexual”. I questioned her further, asking her why she feels comfortable having sex with a guy, yet, is afraid to have even rubbed herself or felt shy about exploring her own body. She kind of blinked her eyes at me, not knowing how to answer because I posed a challenge which made her question WHY she could accept another person groping away at her body but have never done it herself. If in fact she saw masturbating or exploring herself as being disgusting or dirty, why is it any cleaner when done by someone else? In the end I’m not sure if she did end up having sex with the guy (knowing her, probably), but it was probably a question she still cannot answer!

Unlike male masturbation, female masturbation is a particular taboo subject. It almost seems like males and female masturbation frequency/discovery is on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Most males discover masturbation at an early age and continues to masturbate frequently (and notoriously during puberty) until they reach middle-age where it begins to plateau. Females tend to discover masturbation later in life and the number of older female masturbators tends to be higher. This shows that in the past generation, masturbation was not discovered until much later on for women and it isn’t until later in age where masturbation becomes an “acceptable” and “normal” thing – and seen as a “slutty” action at younger ages. It is almost “freely acknowledged” that males masturbate and with little stigma attached to it, but when a girl masturbates, it’s almost like the end-of-the-world. Masturbation for women sometimes come about “through” their first sexual experience, then knowing how wonderful it feels, they begin to explore and adopt masturbation as part of their lifestyle. I think this is contrary to what it should be, because girls should first learn to masturbate then have sex. Certainly women are supressed when it comes to masturbation and it’s such a taboo/frowned upon thing that they ignore their own sexual impulses to curtail to what society expects. Perhaps women are quite sexual too and have ‘needs’ just as guys do, but because masturbation for women isn’t as highly looked upon, they resist the urge to satisfy themselves and therefore only forcing themselves to be unresponsive and frigid. This worries me as well for bebe – because she is so conservative and ‘proper’ that I think she may even be supressing her feelings of need, whether she knows it or not. Sometimes I can see glimpses of emotions from her trying to escape and I feel touched, but then when she realizes she “lets herself out too much” she pulls back in. While this is not necessarily sexual frustration that caused this, but speaking from the viewpoint of masturbation, had she allowed herself to submit to her emotions and perhaps carnal pleasure at some point, she would be more easily receptive to listening to her emotional responses and smoothly initiate relationship advancements. Clearly said, masturbation provides more than just sexual fulfillment, but fosters personal growth in many many ways!

If you have any thoughts or questions about masturbation, female or otherwise, please feel free to comment or send me an email! I’d be happy to answer them if I can, find alternate sources or perhaps point you to the right direction.

Are girls growing up too fast?

Although not all of it is directly related to periods, certainly, the earlier onset of puberty will inevitably mean earlier menarche and young girls who are unable to cope with changes to their body at such a young age, particularly with the early sexualization of girls. This is a repost from http://www.besthealthmag.ca/embrace-life/home-and-family/are-girls-growing-up-too-fast

Are girls growing up too fast?

Breasts at age eight; first period by age 11. Are kids hitting puberty younger–and should we worry?

By Mary Teresa Bitti

Are girls growing up too fast?

The onset of puberty for females now ranges from age eight to 13, and is typically defined as the beginning of breast development. “If a girl comes in at age nine with the start of breasts, that is normal,” says Dr. Rose Girgis, a pediatric endocrinologist at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. “After about two years of these first signs, parents can expect their daughters to have their first menstrual period.”

While there is no Canada-specific research, a large-scale American study in 1997 showed that the average age girls get their first period has gradually fallen over the centuries, dropping from age 17 to about age 12 today.

A 2009 study from Denmark shows that girls in Europe are also entering puberty earlier. There is research arguing that the age of puberty in boys has also come down, but not as dramatically.

The many theories

Parents, doctors and the media have floated around theories as to why girls in particular are maturing earlier: Is it hormones in some 
of the meats we eat, products we’re exposed 
to that contain chemicals which mimic hormones in the body (think bisphenol A, banned in Canada for use in baby bottles), the growing trend to childhood obesity, or even the early sexualization of children via the media?

In effect, each of the theories is possible, but there is no hard data to prove that any of them is the actual cause, says Dr. Mark Palmert, head of the division of endocrinology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

“There have been reports of isolated exposures to environmental chemicals leading to early puberty,” says Palmert. “But to say that environmental exposure is widespread and that this is why girls are now starting puberty earlier is much less clear.”

Kids are exposed to environmental estrogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in everything from insecticides and pesticides to nail polish, makeup, lotion and plastics. Extensive research has shown that these chemicals send signals through the estrogen pathways that can trigger early breast development and puberty in girls.

“Have such exposures affected the pubertal development of the population as a whole? We don’t know,” says Palmert. “It depends on when, how and to what extent the child has been exposed. It’s going to take a lot of good epidemiologic data to prove cause and effect, and that may be difficult because effects can depend on the route, the dose and the time of exposure.”

The cause-and-effect link is further blurred when it comes to the impact of the overt sexuality found in magazines, movies, TV and music videos. Some researchers argue that today’s kids are constantly exposed to sexual stimuli and this might somehow trigger their bodies to adapt accordingly.

“While there is evidence that your mind can affect some systems in the body such as the immune system, there is no hard evidence that those kinds of signals are changing the timing of puberty in the general population,” says Palmert. “There is less buy-in to this hypothesis.”

One of the biggest areas of concern for parents is the growing trend of obesity in children and the role it may play in early puberty. On average, girls who are overweight begin puberty earlier. Hormones released from the added fat cells could play a role in girls maturing faster. “Again, it may be a factor, but we don’t know how much of it is related to being overweight or if this is a definitive cause of earlier development in the general population,” says Palmert.

The most likely cause

The good news is parents can relax: The most accepted reason for the earlier start to adulthood is better nutrition and health. “You need to be about 93 lb. to be able to men-struate, and in previous centuries this weight was attained later, at around 16 years of age,” says Dr. Franziska Baltzer, director of the adolescent medicine/gynecology program of the Montreal Children’s Hospital. “Today, we are eating better and we’re healthier.”

In fact, historically the earlier onset of puberty in girls was not necessarily seen as 
a bad thing. In the past, it was perceived as 
a sign of our progress, just like people getting taller was, says Palmert. “More recently, as concerns about early development have increased, researchers started looking for unhealthy explanations for it, and ideas about better health and nutrition gave way to environmental issues.”

While the health consequences of earlier puberty are not clear, and more focused research is necessary, some studies have linked early puberty in girls to increased risk for self-destructive behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, early sexual experimentation, depression, heart disease and breast cancer. But in fact early onset of puberty in girls is rarely a cause for medical concern.

The fact is, girls tend to follow in their mothers’ footsteps when it comes to puberty, and boys in their fathers’. “Heredity does play a role in when a child enters puberty,” says Girgis.

How parents can help kids

What’s the best way to help your child—
and you—adapt? “Parents should keep in mind that puberty brings many changes—hormonal, behavioural, and some emotional confusion,” says Ester Cole, a psychologist in private practice in Toronto and the current chair of Parenting for Life, a non-profit education program promoting positive parenting skills. “So children may not want to talk to you as much. It doesn’t mean they are angry with you. They are struggling—and the younger they are in the developmental stage of adolescence, the more confusing it is.

“As parents, we have to realize that the physical, emotional and cognitive changes are all happening simultaneously and that there is no linear path of progression simply because their bodies are maturing,” she says.

According to Cole, the best thing parents can do when puberty hits is give their kids some latitude, and listen. “Positive communication and reinforcement is always important. We are good at this when they are younger, but we tend to think they need it less as they get older, particularly when they look much older than they are.”

This is particularly important as children come to terms with their changing bodies. And parents need to realize that there isn’t going to be a direct line from puberty to sexual exploration, and a sudden boy-crazy/girl-crazy attitude.

“It’s important to maintain a clear value system at home so children feel there is psychological security and a sense of acceptance while they exercise new choices,” says Cole.

Menstrual Fetish or Simply Education?

So as I often wander and drift through the internet, I find myself reading forums and Q&A from sites. Having grown up as a forum-hopper as a teenager, I ran into many puberty-related resources, allowing open discussion between males and females, both questioners and moderators/professionals who provide information or intervene to make an expert opinion/diagnosis. With that said, many of these “specific” forums tend to be more positive towards questions and they’re answered with decency – or at least posts that are negative/insulting are removed/moderated. The internet is essentially “society” – just like when we’re offline and many of the same stigmas exist. Let me elaborate.

I was reading on a Q&A site and bumped into several different threads/sites which had males asking legitimate questions about menstruation. Furthermore, they did so tastefully so it was not a matter of, “Oh my god, please let me have your old pads!” – but rather, “I want to know what girls experience during their period” or “Do girls exercise during their period?” These questions appeared genuine and plus, some people might have called them “stupid questions” – but for males who never experience menstruation – how should they know any better? If they dare to post a question up of that sensitivity, surely they deserve an appropriate response. If the person reading/answering feels that they don’t want to answer, why must they feel the need to post a nasty response. Why is a male a PERVERT, a SICKO, a WEIRDO for wanting to learn about menstruation?

This situation is unfortunate, because women complain about men being ignorant or immature when it comes to menstruation. Yes, we have textbooks and we have school, but that is hardly “sufficient information about menstruation” – that is unless you happen to be in a medical field. For the general guy, simply skimming through our 1-page in the textbook during SexEd class or from the hearsay we get from guy friends (usually non-factual) harbour a very poor perception of menstruation in our minds. We’re criticized by women for being un-knowledgeable about menstruation but at the same time, we’re ALSO criticized when we want to genuinely learn about it. So what is it that women want or rather, do women just assume the information we absorb “from around us” is enough for us to have positive view of menstruation? We need brave and mature women who are willing to provide anecdotal support about their own menstrual experiences and educate men in these matters. We should not be degraded or berated for our willingness to learn – WHETHER this is a fetish or simply an interest.

As I was passing through Yahoo! Answers, it was so sad to see girls flocking down on this poor guy who made an honest question about periods. With a solid page of “answers” – most of them were either unhelpful or downright insulting towards this guy. Rather than taking the time to provide a useful answer, these girls told him off, called him names and made personal attacks – when these girls likely don’t even know this individual personally. Only a few “answers” that were posted addressed his question. What is it that women want? …Us to know about periods or us to remain immature about it and then blame us afterwards? I can understand that women might pounce on a guy who asks a question that is “highly inappropriate” – but these were all reasonable questions. Furthermore, if these women didn’t feel comfortable replying, why even post to yell at this poor guy who is trying to LEARN?

How do we separate the fetishists from the learners or is there that gray-area in between it? To understand a fetish, let’s take a look at the definition of it:

fetish  fet·ish (fět’ĭsh, fē’tĭsh)
n.

  1.  Something, such as an object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.
  2.  An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment.

Fetishes are usually not-harmful by nature. For instance, I love menstruation, but I don’t think I’ve ever “hurt” anyone as a result of my interests. At the same time, am I a fetishist or am I a learner? Menstruation IS related to a “sexual part of the body” (opposed to the definition of a fetish being a “non-sexual” part) – closely associated to the vagina, but is not a “part” itself. Likewise, it “may become necessary for sexual gratification” – and luckily for me, I haven’t hit that point where I feel menstruation is so deeply rooted in me where I can’t become sexually aroused without periods/feminine hygiene on my mind. Easy example is that I can easily become sexually excited just thinking about bebe – absence of her period or any products related to it. If someone DID label me as having a menstrual fetish, I also wouldn’t deny it, as I do have that border of “interest” and “excitement” – but nor would I agree 100% since it is the initial desire to learn more about menstruation where it later developed into a sexual-interest.

What though, separate fetishes over menstruation as it does to other ones – ones that people deem more “common” or even “acceptable”? In the world of men, I’m sure many of us wouldn’t deny that a good bra and panty would excite us. It seems like when guys talk about panties, it is pretty acceptable we think about it – but panties are a “non-sexual item” by nature and therefore, would be considered a fetish. Why is it “ok” for a man to have a fetish for an inanimate object, such as female underwear – but NOT ok when it comes to feminine hygiene products or a woman’s period? My ex used to always tease me by leaving some of her bras and panties on her bed so that I’d see them or she’s ask me to pick out for her what to wear underneath. However, my excitement was not necessarily the object itself, but the association. When I think about panties, I don’t get particularly excited. When I think about bebe’s panties or bras, they’re exciting because they’re HERS and the association is with her beauty and body. The other day, I was graced by seeing bebe’s panties/bra while I helped her pack and I was excited – only because she wears them and not so much the “item itself” and therefore the association with it being SEXY is based on her connection with them. So now, do I have a fetish for her panties or do I have a fetish for her? (The answer is obvious, LOL)

I have to say, there’s only been a handful of times I’ve ever felt bad about my interest in menstruation. I’ve received much praise and kudos for my dedication and commitment to being a positive male role model for menstruation. I’m sure many of my readers know my passion is probably have driven by fetish and half by knowledge – but still, does it really matter? I see so many of these poor guys who should have their curiosity fostered and to be able to engage in professional dialogue with a woman who is willing to answer their inquiries. If they pose a question and they’re hoarded by women berating him, what kind of attitude does that suggest? It suggests that men “do not need to know” or in fact “should NOT know” about menstruation and thus, we become negative towards menstruation through our experiences of being ridiculed. These poor male children, tweens or teens (and possibly even adult men) who make a genuine attempt at learning about menstruation will never ask a question about it again if they’re shot-down, what will they say to future generation of guys? Luckily for me, I have the support of many of my girls and even more proud of my girlfriend who is slowly opening up to me about her period and is willing to answer my questions to her. You have no idea how much that has changed my attitude towards her and how blessed/appreciative I feel over her openness in menstruation to me, especially because she’s not easy to pry information from, especially those of such sensitivity. Although it seems weird to take pride in your girlfriend’s period – I certainly do!

For all the men reading this, please find a woman whom you are comfortable with, trust and is willing to share her menstrual knowledge with you. For the women who read this, please extend your hand/knowledge of menstruation to willing-men around you… for this society has much to learn and crush the taboo of menstruation! If you suspect the guy is learning about menstruation because he as a fetish for it… why does it matter to you anyways? If you’re able to change the way another person views menstruation positively, educationally or otherwise, you’ve done a great job! And also… don’t assume anything about the guy when he’s asking a question – not all of us are cross-dressers, transsexuals or the-like 😛

Feminine Hygiene Products and Your Vagina is Repulsive. Period.

Hygiene Matters. Period.

Hygiene Matters. Period. (SCA)

Holy crap, before someone shoots me, that is not what I think – it just happens to be the topic of my entry and also the general sentiment within the media industry. Having a short discussion with one of my readers via comments on my blog, he brought up an excellent point – that because of culture and religion, menstruation is “viewed” very differently. I’m going to start to touch on this topic for 2 reasons. One, was because I was inspired by @campaignperiod showing me a video link and from that, I read up on the Hygiene Matters 2011 Report compiled by SCA. I realize I’m probably giving them free advertisement, but whatever… it was great having read this little report and yes, it IS little, only 43 pages and if you’ve read 300 page reports before, this is nothing, lol. I highly recommend those interested in personal well-being, whether male or female, to read it. If you are not interested in going through something that long (and it is NOT all about menstruation, it is about hygiene in general), please at least see this video.

The second reason was because as I was going through my MENinMenstruation YouTube account, I was “recommended” a video that caught my eye. Bebe once sent me a parody of how “strict” Malaysia TV broadcasting is when it comes to ‘revealing’ body parts. There are so many countries in the world and many cultures that have a particular view of menstruation, so you may wonder why I particularly selected that country and whether it had been influenced by bebe. In this case, it didn’t, because it showed up on my “suggested” videos to watch in which I read a very interesting quote:

6. Are there restrictions upon creative license in Malaysia?

Until very recently, sanitary napkins were not allowed to be shown on TV. Apart from that we could not show armpits or navels.

– Kancil Awards 2008 Chairperson Interview

I’m not interested in generating a debate over religion on my blog. As far as this entry is concerned, all people need to understand is that Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. According to Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution, all ethnic Malays are considered Muslim, which approximately 60.4% of the Malaysian population practicing the Islam religion. Thus, you can see why broadcasting rules within Malaysia are so strict. I have a Muslim coworker and he is highly devoted and abides by the rules set forth by his religion closely. Although I knew about that showing of the armpits and navels on public TV in Malaysia violates broadcasting rules, I did not know that even sanitary napkin commercials were not allowed until I read the quote as stated above. For as long as I can remember, I always struggled in finding sanitary napkin commercials or even (Malaysian) manufacturer websites regarding sanitary napkins. All of this now makes sense as to why I had such difficulties!

Libresse Maxi Pads made by SCA. These are the same ones bebe gave me, but these are not mine and I did not take the picture!

Libresse Maxi Pads made by SCA. These are the same ones bebe gave me, but these are not mine and I did not take the picture!

Further digging revealed an article which was published fairly recently in October of 2010 by The Malaysian Insider author, Dina Zaman. There was a particular quote that almost made me choke on my coffee, not because I was disgusted by the thought of menstruation, but rather, how someone could have such a STARK view of menstruation…

“For example, commercials on sanitary pads are openly shown on TV and this could influence the young to get involved in social ills,” said Johor Bahru Puteri Umno member, urging the ministry to increase shows that teach good values and religious practices.

Umm.. excuse me, did I just read that seeing a commercial of sanitary pads would cause me to be involved in social ills? If that’s the case, I should have murdered a ton of people and raped many women by now according this member’s statement. Although I can’t say I’m the most normal of people in my interests such as menstruation, I’m definitely not socially dysfunction and I don’t pose harm to society or something. The likelihood is I’ve watch more sanitary pad commercials than probably all the females I know put together, so this member must hate my guts by now, lol. The author of the article then continues to write (regarding the above statement):

As a still menstruating woman, I have yet to witness how sanitary pads and their ads could lead one to sin. I have always thought that sanitary pads are a bane to women and frighten the hell out of men, especially bloody and wet ones.

The CMCF (The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia) under Part 3 section 8.6 of their broadcasting standard dictates..

8.6
Sanitary Protection Products and Incontinent Pads For Adults
Advertisements in this product category is unusually sensitive and commercials for it can easily cause offence or embarrassment, even among people who have no objection in principle to its being advertised on television. Because it is often viewed in a family setting, television advertising needs to be treated with restraint and discretion. Anyone intending to produce a commercial for a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults MUST abide by the following:-
(a)
Restriction on Times of Transmission Commercials portraying a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults are permissible only after 10.00pm.
(b)
Visual Treatments and Product Descriptions Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults – visual treatments must be done with taste and restraint, particular care is needed with shots of unwrapped towels, pads or tampons, whether actual or diagrammatic. Detailed references, whether in sound or vision, should avoid graphic descriptions which might offend or embarrass viewers.
(c)
Appeals To Insecurity Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults – no commercial may contain anything which, either directly or by its implication, is likely to undermine an individual’s confidence in her own standards of personal hygiene. No implication of, or appeal to, sexual or social insecurity is acceptable. Commercials may not suggest, by whatever means, that menstruation is in any way unclean or shameful and variations of the word “clean” are unacceptable in advertising for this product category, as are other potentially offensive words such as “odour”. The same applies to the advertising of incontinence.
(d)
Taste and Offence All advertisements for the category of sanitary napkins and incontinent pads for adults must not offend against good taste or decency or be offensive to public feeling and should not prejudice respect for human dignity.

So within that section, they state that they do not want commercials suggesting that menstruation is unclean or shameful (insinuating an attempt to be positive). However, from my perception of the above conditions of a commercial they want to avoid embarrassment, offensiveness and requires “restraint” that they’re being completely contradictory. They want you to avoid making menstruation or related products sound negative, yet they’re clearly NOT comfortable with the idea of advertising such products. Furthermore, I wanted to cry when I read that, “…portraying a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults are permissible only after 10.00pm.” Wow.. after 10PM… that’s when all the kids “should” be asleep.. imagine if they ever stayed up past 10PM, their eyes and brains would be tainted forever should they be SO unfortunate as to seeing a commercial which depicts a menstrual or incontinent product. Their childhoods would be forever ruined and those kids will probably have premarital sex, fail at school and kill their parents as a result 🙄 If I ever had to deal with the broadcasting industry, even in Canada, I’d get so infuriated with this that I’d ask to borrow one of my girls used pad or tampon and just chuck it at the camera.

Clearly someone has the same taste of pads as I do :P

Clearly someone has the same taste of pads as I do 😛

Let’s move back into “North America” for a bit… you know, the free world where we have “freedom” of everything. In this land where drugs, sex and violence is shown freely on TV, and where I could probably get away with saying, “I’m going to fucking shit on your head and piss on your mother” – yet, if I were to say the word vagina, oh my god, I’m sure it’d be bleeped out for sure! This is not new news, so sure, bitch at me if I’m digging up older topics, but it linked into this one so whatever. You can read up on a UK news/blog author’s (Richard Adams) post on the whole U by Kotex thing when it started. The article writes:

An executive for Kimberly-Clark, the owner of Kotex, notes that US TV networks have no such compunction about references to “erectile dysfunction” in prime-time ads for Viagra and Ciallis.

You know, back in the day when I still had cable TV, I felt really uncomfortable when that 40 year-old guy came on the screen and was talking about the “issues” he had… essentially he can’t get it up or goes ‘limp’ when he has sex… and that it is a common problem and there should be no embarrassment to asking the doctor for help in getting Viagra prescribed. Umm.. I found that this was much harder (and grosser) to watch when my parents were around, than a maxi pad or a tampon commercials. Let’s face it, if erectile dysfunction should not be embarrassing and is a common issue, then how is MENSTRUATION of all things “unnatural” and “should cause embarrassment”? Menstruation, unlike erectile dysfunction, is a natural bodily process and the use of menstrual protection products to manage it is the hygienic and proper thing to do. Me knowing that you can’t get hard makes me more uncomfortable than if you were to tell me you were having your period. Hey, maybe it is just me and the fact I like periods that makes it feel more normal, but I really don’t want to know that you can’t pump enough blood to your dick to make it hard. Furthermore, it is also “frowned upon” (as in, they won’t even broadcast your ad) in a commercial to use the proper anatomical reference, vagina on prime-time TV. The last time I saw menstrual fluid, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t blue as well.

Menstruation is still a stigma

Menstruation is still a stigma (Found in the SCA Hygiene Matters Report)

Aren’t those statistics crazy? I have made a blog entry before about how sanitary napkins (because they are the more “conservative” choice over tampons, which you have to *gasp* stick something in your vagina) are still the preferred choice of menstrual protection in Asia regions before, but it was shocking to see how uncomfortable the subject of periods are still to Chinese women. Oddly enough, most of the Asian girls I happen to know are quite open with me on the subject, but I suppose that perhaps bebe is part of that 87% (even though she’s not “from China” per se, she is “Chinese”). The good thing is that even if she’s not open about her period to others, as long as she is to ME, I don’t give a shit 😆 But anyways, even if you look at the U.S (closest to Canada I guess), the statistics still show that HALF of the population still experience social discomforts when they have their period. Clearly, “America” is FAR from reversing the many years of menstrual taboo and the denouement of it. I remember in high school, I had a Swedish girl in my class (boy was she hot, lol) and I remember one time I spotted a tampon in her backpack and I gave it an extra glance. Clearly she caught me looking and during high-school, I was still rather shy about my interest, so I never talked about it… but then after class, she said if I was interested in seeing what a tampon looked like, she said, “Here, you can have my tampon if you want to know what one looks like.” and just put it in my hands, smiled and walked away. I was completely dumbfounded. I mean obviously this one Swedish girl doesn’t represent the entire culture of people, but I get the feeling there’s a lot more openness to menstruation from other cultures than from Chinese culture.

So the moral of this entire post? Feminine Hygiene Products and Your Vagina is Repulsive in the eyes of the broadcasting industry.

Please make sure you check out Period. (@campaignperiod) on twitter, their Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SCA and oh… just as I was about to end this post, found something cool 😀

Innovative launch of Libresse Secure Fit in Malaysia

2011-03-07

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY | 2010 the Libresse secure fit platform was launched in Malaysia. This is unique in many ways, not only because it is the first Asian market entry for The Libresse secure fit but also because it was decided to launch with a price line, which is completely new in the feminine category in Malaysia.

Libresse secure fit launch in Malaysia - SCAIt means that all products have the same price. A pack of ten thick towels has the same price tag as a pack with eight thin towels. However price is not the main differentiator. It is the performance and properties of the product that are differentiating Libresse secure fit from its competitors.

Contraceptive Options – Know Before You Act! (Birth Control)

Options of Preventing Pregnancy

So you may wonder why I have such an odd “non-related” topic on my blog – but in reality, the likelihood is if you’re pregnant, that you’re not going to be getting your period, so I guess in a way, it IS a related matter, lol. What inspired me to write this little blog post (and yes it will be “little” because there is just way too much to cover) is that I was listening on the radio on the drive to work and one of the hosts mentioned that in Canada, they found that many women are actually unaware of the many contraceptive choices that are available to them. I would dare wager that the 2 most well-known contraceptive methods are the pill and condoms. I have done my best to do proper research, but feel free to correct me if mistakes are found as I am more than happy to learn, particularly from those with anecdotal experiences. I have yet to be with a girl who uses such contraception, particularly with a lack of knowledge about the pill and administering techniques other than by hearsay, so my knowledge may be iffy on that.

So many contraceptive choices!! What do you do?

So many contraceptive choices!! What do you do?

Suffice to say, while those two methods are well-known and used by many who choose not to have children at the moment (or never), they are not the only options available at this day in age. In this entry, I hope to gain some insight myself and also help open the world of contraceptive options to men and women. Where do men come into play? Well obviously contraceptive choices between couples or consenting adults is recommended when there is no intention to cause pregnancy. I should mention before I start this post that I’ll be concentrating on avoiding pregnancy in this posting, but should point out that most contraception forms do not protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).

Birth Control Pill (or “the pill”):

The basis of “the pill” is to prevent ovulation through a mixture of hormones, estrogen and progesterone. By suppressing ovulation, there is no egg released by the ovaries to to be fertilized by male sperm, therefore eliminating the risk of becoming pregnant. In addition to inhibiting the ovulation process, the pill also works by thickening the mucus around the cervix, reducing the likelihood that sperm is able to enter the uterus in the event that a female egg has already been released. Due to the combination of hormones present in the pill, even if fertilization does occur, the changes to the uterus lining much harder for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterus wall.

Most of “the pill” packages come in a 21 or 28 day-use cycle. The pill is administered orally (I should make that clear that “orally” means through the MOUTH) daily and at the same time every day. Users of the 21-day pack is taken 21 days continuously where the user will then stop for 7 days before starting the next 21-day pack. Users of the 28-day pack will continue to take all the pills in the package, but the last 7 pills of the cycle are actually hormone-less, usually called a placebo, which really has no effect on the body other than maintaining regularity and familiarity in maintaining the habit of taking the pill daily. If a single dose is missed (other than the placebo pills), then the chances of contraceptive protection drops considerably, so it is imperative that the pill be taken effectively. For women who start using “the pill” – it takes up to 7 days for it to take effect, therefore those who are sexually active within that 7-day window should continue to use alternate contraceptive methods such as a condom.

There are variants of “the pill” (such as progesterone-only), and your health-care professional will be able to give you the best advice on which suits you the best. There are of course benefits and risks for using “the pill” and making it important for you to consult a professional and to research what is in your best interest to use as contraception. For some women, the use of “the pill” is highly discouraged if they have certain medical conditions, so “the pill” is not recommended for everyone. There are also emergency contraceptives, such as “Plan B” for those “oopsies, we had unprotected sex” scenarios that prevent an embryo from attaching the the uterus wall after fertilization. “The pill” requires a prescription to acquire, but “Plan B” is available over-the-counter.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills

Contraceptive Patch

The contraceptive patch works similarly to “the pill” by delivering the combined hormones through the skin. A “bandage-like” adhesive is applied to the abdomen, buttocks, upper arm or upper torso. The scheduled usage of the product is like “the pill” and carries generally the same benefits and negative side effects, only that the method of which the hormones enter the body is different.

Contraceptive Patch

Contraceptive Patch

Intrauterine Devices

IUD’s are devices implanted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. These “T-shaped” devices can be left in the uterus for several years and are usually composed from plastic and copper. Recent ‘enhancements’ to IUD’s also allow them to be loaded with a hormone-containing device which slowly release hormones over time to help alter the menstrual cycle and suppress conception. The IUD acts as a “physical barrier” which hinders the ability for sperm to meet with an egg and also due to a foreign object (the IUD) irritating the uterus lining, it prevents an embryo from implanting onto the uterus wall. This device is not suitable for those who have reactions to copper as it may cause increase menstrual cramps and flow. On the contrary, hormone-releasing variations of the IUD have been known to reduce menstrual flow and regulate periods. Nevertheless IUD’s have the potential of being pushed out of the vagina due to natural contractions. IUD’s are a great contraceptive choice if a user wants to be able to quickly become fertile again (assuming one was fertile in the first place). IUD’s should be implanted with the skills of an expert practitioner.

Intrauterine Device

Intrauterine Device

Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring works similarly to “the pill” by delivering the combined hormones through the vagina. A “ring-like” device is inserted into the vaginal which stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus and creates a barrier to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. The scheduled usage of the product is like “the pill” and carries generally the same benefits and negative side effects, only that the method of which the hormones enter the body is different. It is possible for the ring to fall out and may cause vaginal irritation. If the ring is left outside the body for more than 3 hours, pregnancy once against becomes a risk and requires a 7-day window to become effective again. The vaginal ring can be inserted/removed without professional intervention.

Vaginal Ring

Vaginal Ring

Contraceptive Injections

Contraceptive injections containing synthetic hormones can be absorbed into the body via intramuscular injection. The hormones contained within prevent ovulation, thickens the mucus in the cervix and also makes the womb lining thinner to prevent an embryo from attaching to the uterus wall. Initial injections prevented pregnancy from 8 to 12 weeks, however, newer shots are said to last up to several months. Unfortunately, because hormones are injected directly into the body, they may stay resident in the body for up to 2 years, therefore resuming fertility is not as fast as other methods. Also, there have been riskier “aftermaths” even after discontinued use of contraceptive injections. With the use of contraceptive injections, menstrual periods completely stop (other than spot-bleeding) and do not become regular until a year or more of discontinued use of the product.

Contraceptive Injection

Contraceptive Injection

Implants

Capsules which release fertility-inhibiting hormones were implanted into a woman’s arm which could prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. It was highly effective, however, side-effects were not properly communicated to customers which resulted in several class-action lawsuits. I’m not going to talk a lot about this method since it has been pulled off the shelves in North America.

Contraceptive Implants

Contraceptive Implants

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is the “female equivalent” of a condom, a barrier contraceptive method. A diaphragm is a latex or silicon device shaped in a dome which is inserted into the vagina to “block off” the contact of sperm and a released egg. Just like a condom, a diaphragm is inserted prior to sexual intercourse, however, unlike a condom, the device should be left in the vagina for another 6 to 8 hours (although debated due to lack of evidence/conclusion) from the last male ejaculation within the vagina. It is common that spermicide be applied to the rim and/or dome of the diaphragm prior to insertion. Diaphragms can be reused as long as they are properly cleansed and can be reused immediately if required. Care should be taken to avoid contact with oil, whether it is oil-based vaginal medication of lube as it causes the deterioration of the diaphragm. Depending on the material used to make the diaphragm, it may be used from anywhere between 1 to 10 years.

A fitting appointment is recommended with your health-care professional to assist in finding a diaphragm that fits each woman’s size and needs. Whether a diaphragm is too large or too small may affect the woman’s health and may increase the risk of pregnancy if a seal is not properly formed. The diaphragm covers the cervix and physically prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It should be noted that like tampons, diaphragms are susceptible to causing TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) when it is worn for periods of greater than 24 hours. A diaphragm does not affect future fertility opportunity and does not affect hormones or regular menstrual cycle in any way.

Diaphragm

Diaphragm

Closing

I hope this helps shed some light on the various birth-control options for everyone. For those of us who are in relationships, please be reminded that birth-control is not a one-sided decision and it’s best made with both parties involved. If you are having sex outside of a monogamous relationship, then it’s a totally different story. While it is rightful and legal for a woman to make a sole decision on birth-control methods, please do be considerate and include or at least consult with her partner on his/her feelings and objectives.

Your choice of birth-control may have irreversible or long-term effects, thus, it is advisable to also seek the opinion of your health-care professional. Also, some medical conditions you may have may exempt you from the opportunity to safely utilize some of these methods. There are many risks and rewards to using the above options and I have hardly even touched on the advantages and side-effects of the choices. It is also in your best interest to do prior research and then consult your medical specialist to help make the best decision, fitting to your scenario.

Being the Last

Today, my 2nd of 3 cousins have left and I’m in the final stretch of my vacation with only 7 days to go. In 5 more days, my last cousin will leave and 2 days afterward, it will be my turn to depart. It seems like on every vacation, I always end up being the last one to leave and thus, I have to see everyone go before me. This is kind of a morbid comparison to the elderly who live long, but have to see all their family and friends go before them, LOL. I have to be the one to watch tears and muffled voices every time since I’m the last to return home. Although I have learned to control my emotions a lot better within the past few years, usually by the time I return home to Ontario, there’s a good period of post-holiday depression – making me wonder whether it’s a good idea to even go on vacation in the first place 😛

This vacation has been fairly ordinary with my family and it’s not to downplay my enjoyment of my family-time and Hong Kong, but I definitely feel the fact bebe came to HK to spend a few days of me has been the highlight of this trip. As I’m flipping through my many digital pictures on my computer, I smile and feel so warm seeing those short, but beautiful days bebe and I had together. I am very grateful to her aunt and uncle who so generously gave her a place to stay and it being particularly important factor whether bebe would come to HK at all. I certainly hope they will come to Ontario one day where I can return the favour. They can certainly rest assured as well that I will do my best to take care of bebe in the future and treat her well.

I’m at over a thousand pictures already and have no consolidated pictures taken on other cameras yet. I am quite satisfied with the numbers of products I have been able to test this trip and have taken pictures and written down notes for my review(s). Perhaps on my next trip, there will be newer products or a chance for me to tackle the more “optional” ones. By the next trip, I hope to visit Taiwan, Beijing and if bebe is available as well, I’d love to visit Malaysia. I hope by then we will also be on better terms and on the road to a flourishing/successful relationship.

Today has been a sad day for one of my cousins on my mom’s side. We met her for dinner tonight as she will be leaving on vacation and won’t be back until the night before we leave (which means she won’t have time to catch us), but I found her in a very sour mood today. As we sat down at the restaurant, she didn’t say much and just watched one of the series that was playing on TV. It was a firefighter series, so this episode, one of the “scenarios” was of a girl trying to commit suicide. After a minute of watching that scenario, she ran out of the restaurant crying and I was thinking to myself, “How shit, the series wasn’t THAT depressing/emotional was it?” Then I held her as she cried and only after the crying/sobbing was over, that I found out just this morning, one of her friends had committed suicide.

Hearing about something like this happen is quite tragic and unfortunate. This particularly hit home because this person died because of love. It isn’t “uncommon” per se to hear about this, but just the other day bebe and I had a conversation about this when I was telling her how serious I felt about her. I’m honestly not sure how rational of a person I am, I mean, when bebe was ignoring me and stuff, I felt like I wanted to die. I’m not going to debate the merits of suicide and whether killing yourself over love is a particularly smart thing to do, but honestly, it is not that I have not thought about it before. The feeling of relationship problems are crushing and even I mentioned to bebe that I would actually feel hurt enough to kill myself if we lost our relationship. Now suffice to say feeling something is different than actually carrying it out. Nevertheless, I was trying to convey to her that my feelings for her are real and strong, that she is certainly is as important as life itself.

Some might feel that killing oneself for the sake of love is foolish, but anyone who has ever been hurt by love know the pain of it. The thought of this was just very interesting given that I had just talked about this a week ago with bebe and how I’m serious about her, not just playing around and that I’d likely contemplate (or have contemplated) killing myself before over her. When you love someone deep enough, it just seems like you can’t imagine the world without them. As I recall from stories of my parent’s past, my dad said the same thing to my mom when they were courting. I think it’s a sure sign of true love when the feelings are so strong that one’s life can be compared with a want of a loved-one. When I sit here and think about how lucky I am and thanks to bebe’s persistence that we were able to meet in HK, I truly feel blessed.

The only thing in the past few years that have made leaving more bearable is the fact I’m returning more often than before. Knowing that I plan to return to home to see my family and friends here every 2 years makes it much easier to leave with a smile and not sorrow. I used to cry every time someone left or I left, but now that I have the financial capacity to return on a regular basis softens the blow. Making small trips here and there or having family/friends come visit me back in Ontario also really helps curb that feeling of loneliness and being far away and heck, the internet with VoIP and Webcam has brought people 20,000 km’s away stay connected and feeling close. Whenever I want to see my cousins or family, I just smack on the webcam, stick on the headset and I feel like I’m sitting right next to them!

It sucks that in a few days, I’ll have to leave the comfort behind, but I think I’ve been spoiled for long enough already! I need to head back to Ontario where my life is normalized and where I’m not spoiled out of my mind by the ease of things being available at my beckon. I find I cherish my family, friends and locations much more when I don’t overdo it. Seeing people one-too-many times lessens the excitement and staying in Hong Kong for a bit too long dries out the “hype” of being here, so the best things in life comes in small, yet enjoyable quantities 😀

Happy New Years 2011 from Hong Kong

Just wanted to say Happy New Years to all my loyal readers and passer-byers! I can’t believe it, the start of 2011 marks a full year of this blog’s existence. Even after a year of blogging about menstruation, feminine hygiene and many other personal topics, I still feel highly attached and you should only expect more content to come. My existing hiatus is due to my busy holidays and being away-from-home!

I just got home myself from a short cruise today with family, after all, to celebrate 2011 to be another great and exciting year! The past while with bebe joining me in Hong Kong for a week and trying to balance time with my own family, I have been incredibly drained and exhausted. When I wake up in the morning after full hours of sleep, I feel still tired and yawn often throughout the day. I’m hoping my body doesn’t give up on me, especially since there are only 11 precious days to go before our return to Canada. My schedule is only becoming more packed as people are trying to see us before our departure. During this time since the last update, I have experimented with at least 5-6 different pads which I have yet to post up, even though I have noted my reviews.

I’m excited to say that bebe brought some pads for me as well from Malaysia, an excellent selection I must admit 😛 I’m rather happy she did because it makes me feel that much closer to her, making me particularly excited when I see the same brand/type in the future. For 2011, I hope to continue to make progress in our relationship, because we have much to work on. I find that whenever we try to make big leaps, we tend to fall back more than move forward, showing that bebe and I should probably move slowly. As my aunt said, she agrees that people should “be friends” and then “be lovers” rather than what most people believe that friends can only be friends and lovers are lovers. What is bebe to me? She is my baby, my one true love and the woman I want to be with… what am I to her? I don’t really know. What’s important is that during this time, I try to help her to understand herself and us, so we know where we stand. Bebe refuses to label me as her boyfriend and engage in physical affection with me, so we have much work to achieve that comfort-zone with each other. For now, if she wants to hold her stance as just being a non-attached friend, then so be it, because if I force her to take on the role of my girlfriend when she is not ready, she will only feel suffocated. At the same time, I don’t want to let her “too far out of my sight” as to not allow her to forget she has a very loving guy waiting for her.

Beyond my own needs, all I hope for is that this year our family continues to be blessed with “wealth through health”… because I think I’ve spent so much time this year concentrating on the idea that making money will impress and allow bebe to have a great future. When one thinks deeper, my wealth is the fact I am in good health and can take care of her and our future family. A few days ago, we saw some “attributes” related to her year, one of which was “good health” which she snickered at. Although we have not discussed our health much beyond coughs and stuffy noses, it is likely she is not the most healthiest individual. Ask me before I fell in love with her, that I would want a girl who is not in good health because it may mean lots of “taking care” in the future (rather than usually me being taken care of), but even know she may not be in the best health, I still want to be with her. Health is always a very cautious thing to talk about within a relationship and we don’t do much of it, even though I’ve seen things that might tip me off – but that’s irrelevant. Even now that I know (kind of) what I’m getting myself into, I’m willing to love her and take care of her, no matter what happens to us in the future.

I don’t think any one but me can understand how happy she has made my Christmas and New Year, being able to spend, if even a week, with her. I think the happiest moments were when both happily smiled for the camera. Those were indeed beautiful times and those pictures will be cherished forever. You know, sometimes there are times we she drifts from feeling super close to standing distant away. I know that we BOTH try to make a conscious actions to feel closer with each other and we both play an important part on trying to break that barrier. I know there’s always that mystical force between us that seems to hold us apart until the time is right. I don’t blame it, because sometimes life is guided by fate’s hand and that there are reasons to why things are the way they are. You could say it’s the only way I can console myself, but when things are beyond control, then it makes you realize that there’s more than what we as an individual can do to change a situation.

Love is often an instantaneous spark of feeling and until that same spark ignites within her, she will still keep her distance. I’m like oxygen, I can help her sustain that fire and love for me, but we will first need her to light the fire before I can supply the oxygen to keep it going. As much as I would have loved to embrace her and to hold my lips close to hers this trip (it was worth the dream), I know that my love life is complicated and that every obstacle brings us closer to success. I used to get annoyed at why “love can’t just be easy” – but also realized that every time we trip and fall to reach that end-point will only make us APPRECIATE that end-point even more, helping us survive the many divorces and martial problems that we so often see in this society.

Once again, I’d like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR (2011) and hope that this year will bring you your hearts desires. Expect more updates soon, particularly when I return home to Canada!

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