The ick. We have all had it and we have probably all given it to someone somewhere too. The icks can be minor or major and can often appear a mean judgment to those who don’t understand. The ick is something you can’t unsee, a siren you wish you never saw.
Let’s talk about the ick.
What is “The Ick”?
For those who haven’t heard of the infamous phrase “the ick” – in shorthand – it is where someone does or says something that makes your attraction to that person flip into a feeling of disgust or embarrassment, something that puts you off them.
For example, an ick could be an opinion that a lot of people would agree with, like the fact your partner doesn’t clip their toenails, or it could be something more pedantic that only you find to be an ick, like when someone is doing something completely human (that most wouldn’t see as an “ick”) such as waving at people or the way they walk.
How Do You Give “The Ick”?
The term is commonly used to attack someone’s behaviour, mannerisms, or appearance; it is usually an attack on something you either can’t control or something you are completely unaware of. However the ick is nothing to fear, there are always going to be attributes people like about you and there is always going to be attributes that people dislike about you – it is human nature. Fear not if you give someone the ick, fear only if you are giving everybody the ick.
How Do You Get “The Ick”?
At the end of the day it is ultimately up to you to decide if the ick is a red flag or is worth jeopardising your relationship for. Usually, icks are incredibly minor to everybody else but a much bigger issue to the person who has the ick, and if you have it you need to weigh up whether you can put up with it or not. Like mentioned formerly, there’s always going to be things that people like and dislike and you have to weigh up whether the things you like outweigh the qualities you dislike in order to continue the relationship.
Why Do People Find Icks Funny?
Finding out something you do is an ick can be hard to take for some people, and even more so when people are laughing about it, but icks are funny because they are relatable. That is why the term is being used all over Instagram and Tik Tok, because we have all experienced that feeling.
For example, if someone comes to you talking about a date that didn’t go well because of a certain ick and your friend jumps in and says they share the same ick, you both share that commonality of the same ick and can totally understand where one another are coming from whereas others may see it as a harsh/ mean judgement. The ick is a feeling, a feeling of second-hand embarrassment, a feeling of cringe that makes you question everything you once thought about that person, and it can come from the most randomest of places.
Should I Give a Fu*k?
The bottom line is no, not really. If something you do bothers someone else, that is their problem to deal with. What may give one person the ick may be the reason for another person falling in love with you. Stay true to you.
Examples of “The Ick”
So you can get more of an idea as to what some people consider a personal ick of theirs, some great examples sent in were:
“When boys follow too many girls on Instagram.”
“When their hair has blown up in the wind.”
“Ugly shoes. Just casually wearing hiking shoes or ballet pumps is just.. No, soz.”
“Treating hospitality staff like shit. You can be a 10 but quickly turn to a 1.”
“Telling me to take my heels off because I am taller than them.”
Have you ever been asked “What’s your love language?” Nah me either until YESTERDAY. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner (tomorrow), when is it better to talk about love languages? The love languages describe five ways that people receive and express love in a relationship. Knowing your partner’s love language and letting them know yours can help you both feel loved and appreciated.
The five love languages were developed by author and couples counselor Gary Chapman, PhD in 1992 in his book ‘The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.’ If you’ve ever been in a relationship and encountered a problem that felt like you were fundamentally misunderstanding your partner (and who hasn’t?), your online search has probably led you to the “What is your love language?” question and/or quiz.
When counseling couples Dr.Chapman began to recognise a pattern, he realised the couples were misunderstanding one another’s needs. Even love can sometimes get lost in translation when two partners speak different love languages.
The five love languages are: acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. Not everyone communicates love in the same way, and likewise, people have different ways they prefer to receive love. When we know what another person’s love language is, we can choose the gestures that will most resonate with our partner, friend, parent or child. Nearly everyone wants to show their partner that they care about them, yet many people struggle to do it in a way that speaks to their loved one’s heart. However, when we know which actions speak to us and make us feel loved, we can ask other people for exactly what we need.
After many years of counseling couples in crisis, Dr. Chapman says, “It became apparent to me that what makes one person feel loved isn’t always the same for their spouse or partner,” he explains. “I discovered every person understands and receives love in a specific language, one of five to be precise. The other four are just as important and offer [other] ways to express love to each other.”
People with physical touch as their love language feel loved when they receive physical signs of affection, including kissing, holding hands, cuddling on the couch, and sex. Physical intimacy and touch can be incredibly affirming and serve as a powerful emotional connector for people with this love language. People who communicate their appreciation through this language, when they consent to it, feel appreciated when they are hugged, kissed, or cuddled.
Gifts is a pretty straightforward love language: You feel loved when people give you “visual symbols of love”. However, don’t misinterpret this – this isn’t about materialistic gifts, but rather the symbolic thought behind the item. People with this style recognise and value the gift-giving process: the careful reflection, the deliberate choosing of the object to represent the relationship, and the emotional benefits from receiving the present. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift-giver put into it.
Words of Affirmation
When this is someone’s primary love language, they enjoy kind words of appreciation and encouragement as well as frequent compliments, uplifting quotes, love notes, and cute text messages. You can make this person’s day by complimenting them or pointing out what they do well.
People whose love language is quality time feel the most adored when their partner actively wants to spend time with them and is always ready to hang out. They particularly love active listening, eye contact, and full presence when they are talking to you. Love and affection are expressed for someone with this love language through undivided attention. The person feels loved if you are present and focused on them. This means putting down the cell phone, turning off the tablet, making eye contact, and actively listening. Affirm what the other person is saying and refrain from offering advice.
Acts of Service
If your love language is acts of service, you value when your partner goes out of their way to make your life easier. It’s things like helping you with house chores, making you breakfast in the morning, or running the bath for you after a hard day at work. This love language is for people who believe that actions speak louder than words. They love when people do little things for them and often can be found doing these acts of service for others.
Well there you have it – the five love languages. Hopefully after reading this you are more enlightened to what both you, and your partner are after when it comes to your own languages of love. Remember – just because a certain thing is your love language, doesn’t mean it is also your partners. If you really want to show someone how much you love them, you need to understand them first.
The world of genders and sexualities is a glorious yet heavily misunderstood topic. As the world is moving forward in terms of progression with equality in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important that cis people and – heck – everyone else help keep that momentum going by educating yourself and becoming more open minded and accepting of what you may not have previously understood. For those that don’t know, LGBTQ+ is an acronym for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. People of all sexualities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella may also identify as queer. They may use the term “queer” to reclaim it, as historically many have used the term as a slur. Unless a person is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is generally not a good idea to use this term.
Although it looks like we have come far in terms of the western world for example, gay relationships are now broadcasted on television, as are gay and trans actors. However, same-sex marriage is only legal in 29 out of 195 countries in the world (just under 15%), it’s still illegal to be LGBTQ+ in 70 countries, and you could be given the death penalty in 12. Therefore, we as humans, still have a long way to go to help get these people in the LGBTQ+ community the respect and rights that they deserve – all over the world.
Sexuality/ Sexual Orientation
A person’s sexuality, or sexual orientation, determines whom they do, or do not, feel attraction toward. This attraction is typically sexual or romantic. Sexual attraction typically describes a person’s desire to have sex or form a sexual relationship with other people. It also often describes physical attraction, or lack thereof, toward others. Romantic attraction can describe a person’s expression of love within a relationship. This relationship does not have to be sexual, and a person does not have to experience both romantic and sexual attraction in order to have a sexuality.
There are a lot of sexual orientations, and people who identify with one or more may find that their sexuality changes over time. This is perfectly normal — a person’s orientation can be fluid. They may also sit under an umbrella term but not find a label that accurately describes their experience. Some terms you may have heard more of recently are, pansexual (people who feel attraction toward people of all genders and sexes), bisexual (have an attraction to both men and women), and asexual (lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity). For someone who is searching for the perfect word to describe their sexual desires, this could take them a step closer to finding sexual liberation.
It all boils down to education. People are people. Love is love. As long as the relationship is between two consenting adults, it really is nobody else’s business. Discriminating or judging someone over how they choose to look or live their life really says more about you, than it does them. You should be free to live life how you want to, and if you don’t want to live life as the gender you were assigned at birth, you now have the option to change that. As a cis person you will never thoroughly understand because you’ve never experienced that feeling, but if you listen to some trans people’s stories it can help give you an insight to their realities as a trans person; their life before and after. ‘Pose’ on BBC iPlayer and ‘It’s A Sin’ on Channel 4 are two really good drama series which takes you back to what being gay or trans in the 80s was like and the torment they had to go through just to be able to be themselves.
So, what is gender identity? Gender identity is how a person chooses to identify their gender. Seems simple, right? However, there are lots of genders on the spectrum way more than just two, but in our society the genders that are most recognised are male and female (called the gender binary) and usually it is based on someone’s anatomy (the genitals they were born with). This is gender assignment and it is based on an assumption that someone’s genitals match their gender. However, gender isn’t about someone’s anatomy, it is about who they know themselves to be. There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, and all, none or a combination of these.
Why Are Pronouns Important?
Even if you do identify with the sex assigned to you at birth, as an ally, it’s important to understand the language behind gender-related terms. It’s also important to remember that similar to sexuality, gender can be fluid. For this reason, you must keep in mind that someone’s gender identity may change over time. And that’s okay.
Pronouns are important because you’re respecting the person you’re addressing. By mis-pronouning someone you’re disrespecting them, whether you think so or not. By assuming a person’s pronouns, you’re projecting a message that people must look a certain way to be able to use their pronouns. Just ask!
So whether you identify with one of these terms or just want to become a better ally, here are 11 terms and definitions essential to creating a more inclusive, understanding and respectful environment for everyone.
A person who identifies as agender might experience an absence of any gender feelings or affiliation. (Remember that “a” as a prefix means “absence of something,” so agender = absence of gender.)
If we’re talking about someone’s sex, we’re talking about what they were assigned at birth, based on external genitalia.
While sex is based on biology, chromosomes, and what doctors assign at birth and write on the birth certificate, gender is a social construct, meaning something that was created by humanity, complete with its own set of “rules” and expectations. As such, individuals may identify with a different gender than what they were assigned at birth.
Often abbreviated to “cis” refers to people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. So if you were born with a penis and you feel and consider yourself to be male, you’d be a cisgender male.
Often abbreviated to”trans” refers to someone whose gender does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a transgender man is someone who was assigned female at birth but has transitioned (or is transitioning) to expressing a male gender identity, and a transgender woman is someone who was assigned male at birth but has transitioned (or is transitioning) to expressing a female gender identity.
A genderqueer person may identify as neither gender, both, or a combination. They do not subscribe to the traditional gender binary.
Non-binary is an umbrella term for people whose gender is not just male or female. This word may have different meanings to different people. Non-binary is anyone outside of gender, or someone who is transgender, or people who don’t fall strictly within the binary at all. Someone can be trans, gender fluid, genderqueer, and non-binary all at the same time.
Sexual orientation is completely separate from gender identity. One refers to who you’re attracted to, while the other refers to your gender. This is important and often misunderstood. While someone who is non-binary or trans may identify as gay or bisexual, various gender identities can also have a heterosexual sexual orientation.
A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more male some days, and more female other days.
An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction (e.g., asexual person)
Describes people who have consensual relationships that involve multiple partners. Polyamorous people talk openly with their partners about having, or having the desire to have sexual and/or emotional relationships with multiple people and often set ground rules for their relationships.
STI’s – no one wants to talk about them. The stigma surrounding STI’s is still very prevalent in today’s society as it’s often the punchline to a cheap joke or used as to insult someone who has multiple partners – but the truth of the matter is – ANYONE who is sexually active can get an STI. Even if you wear condoms. Even if everyone you’ve slept with is ‘clean’. The association with being ‘dirty’ and having an STI needs to prevail if we want people to talk about it more and prevent the spread of STI’s as a whole. Being open about these things is a method of prevention also. Talking about your sexual health status, when you last got checked, and if you have got an STI – telling your partners to go and get tested and sort themselves out too. Not talking about STI’s just makes the matter worse. Plus, some STI’s can have major side effects such as infertility (chlamydia) if not treated. The STI Guide: Everything You Need to Know.
What are STI’s?
STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. When speaking of sexual health, Healthline state, “Infections occur when pathogens like viruses, bacteria, or parasites enter your body and start to multiply. How they get into your body depends on the type of pathogen. Some get in through skin-to-skin contact with a person who has an infection; others are transmitted through an exchange of bodily fluids, like semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Infection progresses to disease when these pathogens cause damage to your cells, and signs and symptoms appear.”
STIs are contracted in more ways than you probably realise. Penis-in-vagina and penis-in-anus aren’t the only way – oral, hands, and even dry humping and clothes can transmit STIs. Some are spread through contact with bodily fluids and some through skin-to-skin contact, whether there are visible signs of an infection or not. Anyone who’s sexually active should know what symptoms to watch out for. If you’re worried you have got an STI, go for a check-up at a sexual health clinic as soon as you can.
The Difference Between STI and STD
You may have heard of STD as well as STI which means Sexually Transmitted Disease – the two are often used interchangeably – however, there’s a difference between an infection and a disease. A sexually transmitted disease can come from an infection; when the infection has festered and obvious symptoms have appeared it then becomes a disease.
Therefore, STI is often the correct term to use when referring to most of the medical conditions as oppose to STD. For example: chlamydia and syphilis – the two most common – are asymptomatic. Some STIs never develop into STDs. Take HPV, for example. HPV usually clears up on its own without causing any health problems. In these cases, HPV is an STI. If the infection doesn’t clear on its own, it can cause genital warts or certain cancers. This then makes it a disease.
What to Look Out For
Usually anything different from the norm that involves your bits downstairs can cause a fair reason for concern, but sometimes it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. The only way to find out is to go to a clinic and let them have a look. Signs/symptoms you may have an STI can include the following:
Bumps, sores, or rashes in or around the genitals, anus, buttocks, or thighs
Changes in the colour, amount, or smell of vaginal discharge
Unusual vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods or after sex
Painful or burning urination
Pain during vaginal or anal penetration
Painful or swollen testicles
Tingling or itching around the genitals
Swollen and painful lymph nodes, especially in the groin and neck
When to Get Tested
Get tested before and after you have unprotected sex. That way you can have peace of mind knowing your sexual health status at the time was all negative. If you’re having unprotected sex with multiple partners I’d advise getting tested every time you change partner. If you’re going to have unprotected sex with someone – try to keep it monogmous. It just makes things less complicated. Other times when you should get tested include:
-Have had sex without a barrier method, like a condom -Have had or are planning to have sex with a new partner -Have multiple sexual partners -Are worried you may have been exposed to an STI -Are pregnant -Share injection drug equipment
But don’t jump straight from the bed to the screening clinic, because getting tested too soon won’t tell you whether you were exposed to an STI from your most recent sexual encounter.
How to Protect Yourself From STI’s
STIs ARE preventable. There are steps you can take to keep yourself and your partner(s) healthy. The main thing any of us know about protecting ourselves against STI’s is to WEAR A CONDOM. However, some STI’s like genital warts, genital herpes, syphilis, scabies and crabs – can still be passed on even if you’re having ‘protected’ sex. Practice abstinence. The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. The best way to not get an STI is to be completely monogamous or to not have sex at all. Condoms reduce your overall risk of getting an STI so even though they aren’t 100% they’re better than nothing at all. USE CONDOMS!
How to Tell Your Partner/s You’ve Given Them an STI
Breathe and repeat after me: It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Whether it’s cleared by a run of antibiotics or hanging around for the long haul – it makes no difference. The clinics in the UK offer to text your partner notifying them to get tested if you would rather that – than to text them yourself – however it’s often better than not to just tell them yourself. These conversations aren’t fun, but they help break the chain of infection.
A talk about testing and status can help prevent the future spread of STIs and lead to earlier detection and treatment, which can help avoid complications. This is especially important with many STIs often being asymptomatic until complications occur, like infertility and certain cancers. Plus, it’s just the moral thing to do. If you’re having sex – protected or not – you’re putting yourself at risk of getting an STI. How to not get an STI? Don’t have sex. Just take preventative measures; look after yourself and your partner and decrease the rate of transmission. As the saying goes – it takes two to tango!
You could get an STI from the first person you have slept with and you could get one from your husband: STIs don’t mean a person’s dirty, and they don’t always mean that someone has cheated. You would be grateful if someone opened up
Common STI’s – Side Effects and Treatments
All of the information below is from the NHS website. I’m going to link the NHS pages to each of the STI’s listed so you can click for further information. If you think you have an STI you should avoid any sort of sex with your partner until you have been tested and/or treated.
Chlamydia: One of the most common STI’s in the UK. Passed on through unprotected sex (without a condom). Most people with chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and do not know they have it. If you do develop symptoms, you may experience: pain when peeing, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or bottom, in women, pain in the tummy, bleeding after sex and bleeding between periods in men, pain and swelling in the testicles. Chlamydia can usually be treated easily with antibiotics.You may be given some tablets to take all on 1 day, or a longer course of capsules to take for a week. Read more
Gonorrhoea: The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid. The bacteria can infect the entrance to the womb (cervix), the tube that passes urine out of the body (urethra), the rectum and, less commonly, the throat or eyes. Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when peeing and, in women, bleeding between periods. But around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms.Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through: unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, sharing vibrators or other sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used. Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection and a single antibiotic tablet. Read more
Trichomoniasis: Caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection. But up to half of all people will not develop any symptoms (though they can still pass the infection on to others). The symptoms of trichomoniasis are similar to those of many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms include: abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour, producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell, soreness, swelling and itching around the vagina – sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy, pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex in women. Symptoms for men can include: pain when peeing or during ejaculation needing to pee more frequently than usual thin, white discharge from the penis, soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis or foreskin. Anyone who’s sexually active can catch it and pass it on. However, trichomoniasis is not thought to be passed on through oral or anal sex. It can be treated with a course of 5-7 days of antibiotics. Read more
HPV and Genital Warts: A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) passed on by vaginal and anal sex, sharing sex toys and, rarely, by oral sex. Many people with the virus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on. After you get the infection, it can take weeks to many months before symptoms appear. You can get genital warts from skin-to-skin contact, including vaginal and anal sex, and sharing sex toys. HPV is the name of a very common group of viruses. They do not cause any problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer. HPV affects the skin. There are more than 100 different types.Strains HPV 6 and HPV 11 account for 90% of genital warts. Go to a sexual health clinic if you have: One or more painless growths or lumps around your vagina, penis or anus, itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus, a change to your normal flow of pee (for example, it’s begun to flow sideways) that does not go away, a sexual partner who has genital warts, even if you do not have symptoms. Treatment can include: cream, freezing the warts, cutting them off, burn them off or use a lazer to remove the warts. There’s no cure for genital warts, but it’s possible for your body to fight the virus over time. Read more
Genital Herpes: Passed on through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Treatment from a sexual health clinic can help. Symptoms clear up on their own but can come back. Go to the clinic if you experience: small blisters that burst to leave red, open sores around your genitals, anus, thighs or bottom, tingling, burning or itching around your genitals, pain when you pee, – in women- vaginal discharge that’s not usual for you. There’s no cure. Symptoms clear up by themselves, but the blisters can come back (an outbreak or recurrence). Treatment from a sexual health clinic can help. Treatment can include: antiviral medication and creams to soothe the blisters. You can get genital herpes: from skin-to-skin contact with the infected area (including vaginal, anal and oral sex) when there are no visible sores or blisters, if a cold sore touches your genitals, by transferring the infection on fingers from someone else to your genitals, by sharing sex toys with someone who has herpes. You cannot get genital herpes:from objects such as cutlery or cups – the virus dies very quickly when away from your skin. Read more
Pubic Lice: Otherwise known as ‘crabs’ are tiny insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair. As well as being found in pubic hair, the lice are also sometimes found in: underarm and leg hair, hair on the chest, abdomen and back, facial hair, such as beards and moustaches, eyelashes and eyebrows (very occasionally). Pubic lice are spread through close bodily contact, most commonly sexual contact. Symptoms are the same for men and women, and include: itching in the affected areas, especially at night, inflammation and irritation caused by scratching, black powder in your underwear, blue spots or small spots of blood on your skin, such as on your thighs or lower abdomen (caused by lice bites), Itching is the most common symptom of pubic lice and is an allergic reaction to their saliva. The itching is usually worse at night because that’s when the lice are most active. Using condoms and other methods of barrier contraception doesn’t protect you against pubic lice – but shaving will! Pubic lice can be treated at home with insecticide cream, lotion or shampoo. Read more
Scabies: The symptoms of scabies are: intense itching, especially at night, a raised rash or spots. Tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, leaving lines with a dot at one end. The scabies rash usually spreads across the whole body, apart from the head. Scabies is not usually a serious condition, but it does need to be treated. A pharmacist will recommend a cream or lotion that you apply over your whole body. It’s important to read the instructions carefully. Scabies is very infectious, but it can take up to 8 weeks for the rash to appear. Scabies are passed from person to person by skin-to-skin contact. Therefore, it’s not always caught via sex – it can be passed on from touching someone – anything skin-on-skin. Read more
Syphilis: It’s important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have syphilis, as it can cause serious problems if it’s left untreated. It can usually be cured with a short course of antibiotics. The symptoms of syphilis are not always obvious and may eventually disappear, but you’ll usually remain infected unless you get treated. Symptoms can include: small, painless sores or ulcers that typically appear on the penis, vagina, or around the anus, but can occur in other places such as the mouth, a blotchy red rash that often affects the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, small skin growths (similar to genital warts) that may develop on the vulva in women or around the bottom (anus) in both men and women, white patches in the mouth, tiredness, headaches, joint pains, a high temperature (fever) and swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits. If it’s left untreated for years, syphilis can spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious long-term problems. Syphilis is mainly spread through close contact with an infected sore. This usually happens during vaginal, anal or oral sex, or by sharing sex toys with someone who’s infected. Anyone who’s sexually active is potentially at risk. Syphilis is usually treated with either: an injection of antibiotics into your buttocks – most people will only need 1 dose, although 3 injections given at weekly intervals may be recommended if you have had syphilis for a long time. Or a course of antibiotics tablets if you cannot have the injection – this will usually last 2 or 4 weeks, depending on how long you have had syphilis. Read more
HIV: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus. While AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another, the HIV virus can. There’s currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life. With an early diagnosis and effective treatments, most people with HIV will not develop any AIDS-related illnesses and will live a near-normal lifespan. HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk. It’s a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long. HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva. The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom. Other ways of getting HIV include: sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment. Antiretroviral medicines are used to treat HIV. They work by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage. These come in the form of tablets, which need to be taken every day. As long as a HIV+ person takes their medication every day it makes the virus near undetectable when coming to transmission. However; anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV infection. Read more
Whatever you happen to call it – Cock, Dick, Willy, Schlong, Todger, Tom, or Jerry – the penis is a peculiar body part – but an incredibly vital body part nonetheless. The penis – just like the vagina – is essential to the survival of our species. When you consider the penis as an evolutionary adaptation, it has done remarkably well. All of us can say without too much doubt that our father’s penis worked, as did our grandfather’s, and his father’s, and so on, right back through successive generations until we reach far beyond the existence of mankind.
Memorialised in monuments, Greek statues, school-books and graffiti everywhere, the penis may be the most famous and arguably the most spoken about human organ on the planet. But despite it’s seemingly simple exterior, how much do you really know about penises? Given they’ve been swinging around for years, you might be surprised by just how many facts you never knew. So here goes!
Erections Are Complicated.
An average male experiences 11 erections per day, many of them while asleep. The average number of erections a man has during the night is nine lasting between 25-35 minutes. The standard male orgasm lasts six seconds, while women get an average of 23 seconds.
Achieving an erection is one of the most complex functions to happen in a man, Dr. Reitano says: “For starters, hormones must be released on demand, arteries need to carry six times more blood to the penis with perfect efficiency, the nervous system must transmit its signals without a hitch, and the mind must be working in perfect harmony with the body.” The ability to get and sustain an erection, he says, depends upon “a body that is perfectly tuned physically, psychologically, and emotionally.” The inability to achieve an erection, a.k.a. erectile dysfunction, is usually the first sign of poor health, according to Reitano.
According to Health, morning wood is a good sign: Waking up with a hard-on is a normal thing for guys; it has nothing to do with how horny he is but the biological fact that testosterone levels are highest in the a.m. If a man stops having morning erections, however, it could mean that something’s up with his health. Two weeks without one necessitates a trip to a doctor, suggests Dr. Reitano. You can read more about Erectile Dysfunction here.
You’re Born With One and You Can Die With One
That’s it…Erections! Did you know that it’s common for babies to exit the womb with an erection? You do now! Even before the moment of birth, ultrasound scans can show a fetus with a fully formed erection. Weird. According to a study from 1991, fetal erections occur most commonly during random eye movement (REM) sleep, and they can happen a number of times each hour. No one is quite sure why, but it might just be our body’s way of testing things out and keeping them running correctly.
The final erection:So, we’ve established that you can get erections in the womb and during sleep, but this is perhaps even more surprising: the death erection. Also called ‘angel lust’ or ‘terminal erection’, it happens in the moments after death. Most commonly, it occurs in men who have died from hanging.
How Many Times Do You Ejaculate on Average in a Lifetime?
The average man will experience around 7,200 ejaculations in his lifetime and the average number of times a man will ejaculate from masturbation in a lifetime is around 2,000.
A man’s erection can point in pretty much any direction. Straight up, ahead, down, left or right – there’s no right or wrong. The data below comes from a study that measured the erections of 1,484 men. In the figures below, if the penis pointed directly up, it was measured as 0 degrees, and if it was forward-pointing (horizontal), it would be 90 degrees:
0–30 degrees – 4.9 percent of men
30–60 degrees – 29.6 percent of men
60–85 degrees – 30.9 percent of men
85–95 degrees – 9.9 percent of men
95–120 degrees – 19.8 percent of men
120–180 degrees – 4.9 percent of men
So, if you’ve ever been concerned that your wood is a bit ski-whiff, don’t worry – you’re normal.
Grower or a Show-er?
The average erect penis is about 5.56 inches (14 cm) long, according to a 2013 study detailed in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that surveyed 1,661 men. But variety is the spice of life, and men in that study had members that ranged from 1.6 inches (4cm) long to 10.2 inches (26 cm) long. So most penises are around the same size when erect which is actually between 6-7 inches (minus the anomolies).
When men are smaller or larger than average, it’s not by much. “Almost every man is between 4 and 6 inches, and maybe 15% of men have a penis over 7 inches in length,” Michael Reitano, MD, physician in residence at men’s health company Roman, tells Health.
A study on 274 men demonstrated that there is no correlation between the length of a flaccid penis and its erect size. Some start small and end up large (a grower), while some are large when flaccid and only grow a little when erect (a show-er). Some are even small whatever state they are in, and some are large when flaccid and get much larger. It’s a mixed bag. There’s no correlation between how big a guy is when he’s hanging loose and how large he is erect.
Penis anxiety is real and common: in a study published in September 2013 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 30 percent of a sample of British men were very dissatisfied with their penis size. The study found no link, however, between size anxiety and actual penis size. Despite reports that lots of men worry about their penis size, they shouldn’t. 85% of women are said to be totally satisfied with their partner’s package. For those that still worry, here’s another reassuring thing: vaginas typically adjust themselves to any size or length. However, penile tissue can also become less elastic if a guy doesn’t get regular erections, meaning his penis could shrink by a centimeter or two if he doesn’t use it enough.
The Biggest and the Smallest
Who has the biggest human penis in the world? Reportedly, a man called Jonah Falcon from New York has the biggest schlong on record – 13.5 inches (although, not totally verified). JEEZ!
A study conducted by the University of Ulster found that men in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have the biggest average penis size in the world at 7.1 inches.
North Korea apparently has the smallest penises on average (3.8 inches). Only 3% of men worldwide are over 8 inches and only 6% of men actually need extra large condoms. So men that say their penis is too big to fit inside a condom… y’all probably lying.
Sucks to be Shrew: The shrew has the smallest penis of the animal kingdom, typically just 0.2 inches. The largest penis on the other hand, is from a sperm whale, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing nearly 150 pounds!
Can You Suck Yourself Off?
According to the sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who, during the 1940s conducted epic research into human sexuality – on average – one in a thousand men are flexible enough to orally pleasure themselves.
Drop the Cigs! Smoking Can Shorten Your Penis!
Because smoking reduces blood flow to the penis, it can shorten the average penis by up to 0.4 inches (1 cm), studies have found. It has also been proven that smoking increases men’s chances of impotency (erectile dysfunction). The solution? Stub it out, lads.
You Can Be Born with Two Penises
Very rarely, a man may be born with two penises, a genetic condition that affects every 5 million to 6 million males (around 100 men worldwide) and is known as diphallia. Unfortunately, this condition doesn’t mean double the fun: Both organs are rarely fully functional, and the condition often comes along with other anomalies in the genital area that require surgery to correct.
Are Uncircumcised Penises More Likely to Get STD’s?
Can being circumcised reduce your risk of contracting an STD? Well, apparently so. The foreskin’s inner surface is made up of mucous membranes similar to those found inside the eyelid or the mouth, making it a moist place. That unique environment could be responsible for the increased STD transmission rates associated with uncircumcised men in some studies. Circumcised penises are also a lot easier to keep clean in comparison, because there’s no extra skin to allow for build up of bacteria and dirt etc.
There’s this impression that only newborns get circumcised, but adult men can get circumcised too! However only 30% of men over the age of 15 have been circumcised. As for those wondering if your partner will notice the difference; experts say that not much changes for women in terms of feeling when they have sex with a man who is circumcised – and as a woman who has experienced both circumcised and uncircumcised – I can confirm this.
Foot Size = Penis Length?
Penis length is NOT linked to foot size: The idea that the size of your penis is in proportion to your shoe size is a myth. According to a study published in the British Journal of Urology International, researchers at University College London measured the penises of 104 men, including teenagers and pensioners. The average penis length in this group was 13cm (5.1 inches) when soft and gently stretched, and the average British shoe size was 9 (43 EU Size). But researchers found no link between shoe size and penis length.
‘Blue Balls’ is REAL.
The myth surrounding men getting blue balls is not entirely a fabrication. It does exist in science, and is known as “prostatic congestion,”. The common symptom of an ache in the testicles is a result of ‘trapped’ blood. An orgasm can relieve it, but it is not the only solution. Doctors suggest a nice warm shower or aspirin can also fix the issue.
There’s More to it Than Meets the Eye
A guy’s penis size is double the length you actually see. The rest is tucked up inside the pelvis and attached to his pubic bone.
You CAN Break Your Penis
Yes – if the penis is violently twisted when erect – it can break. It most commonly occurs during vigorous sex, although it has been documented to happen to men who have fallen out of bed with an erection. There are no bones in the penis, but the tubes that fill with blood during an erection can burst. Blood pours out of them inside the penis and causes a very painful swelling. The moment of fracture is accompanied by a popping or cracking sound, intense pain, swelling, and – unsurprisingly – flaccidity.
Reported cases of penile fracture are rare, but it’s thought that some men are too embarrassed to report it to their doctor. According to the NHS, damage during sex, where their partner is on top, is responsible for about one-third of all cases. The breakage usually occurs when a man’s penis slips out of his partner and is violently bent.
Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often and, if it is treated swiftly, full function can be restored. As a note of caution, if this happens to you, don’t let embarrassment get the better of you. Go and get it sorted as soon as possible.
A Phobia of Penises
Phallophobia is the fear of a penis.
Can You Change the Taste of Your Cum?
Dr Shirin Larkhani, a general practitioner explains to Cosmopolitan that although semen taste can vary hugely from one person to another, there are certain things that can affect the taste of semen, Dr Larkhani says,
“Strong-tasting vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, garlic and caffeine may make semen taste or smell unpleasant. Whereas pineapple, oranges and other sweet fruits may make it taste sweeter. This is largely due to how the enzymes in the food break down and affect proteins, thus impacting on the smell and taste.This is highly subjective though, just as our tastes vary with food it’s logical that our tastes in semen does too.” Off the Menu: According to Glamour, asparagus, red meat and dairy are all said to negatively affect the taste of semen.
The Penis is NOT a Muscle
Contrary to popular belief, the so-called love muscle does not contain any muscles. That’s why you cannot move it very much when it’s erect. The penis is a kind of sponge that fills with blood when a man is sexually excited, causing the penis to swell and stiffen.
Semen is More Than Just Sperm
(If you’ve ever had a facial) Have you noticed after washing cum off your face it’s super smooth? Well there’s a reason for that! Semen is made of about 96 percent water, 2 percent sperm, fructose (which nourishes sperm), vitamin C (which helps keep sperm healthy), sodium bicarbonate (which protects sperm from the acidic environment of a vagina), various proteins and enzymes, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. All of that goodness!
Having Sex Once a Week Can Lower Your Risk of Health Conditions!
Having sex at least once a week can lower a man’s risk of heart disease by 30%, stroke by 50%, and diabetes by 40%. Even more of a reason to be having more sex!
Most of us have had Sex Ed classes and Biology lessons at school, but how much did they really teach you about vaginas beyond periods and its reproductive qualities? You’re never really taught about the pleasure a vagina can receive, and when to know when your vag is healthy or not – so hopefully this article will give you more of an insight into the magical world of vaginas.
There’s also a lot of myths and misinformation out there regarding orgasms and what a vagina should look and smell like, which may bring unnecessary shame and stress to many women out there, but you’re not alone! However, this article isn’t just for those with vaginas, it’s also for men that don’t know as much about vaginas as they should do. Porn is renowned for giving unrealistic expectations and a woman’s privates are amongst them.
Vagina’s aren’t a blueprint, like you see in porn.
What’s a Vulva?
Right, so a womans ‘bits’ isn’t just a vagina. In short – the vagina is the inside, and the vulva is all the bits on the outside which includes; the inner and outer labia, perineum, clitoris, urethra, and vaginal opening. The vagina is a 3- to 6-inch-long muscular canal that runs from your vulva to the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.
Labias Come in All Shapes and Sizes.
The labia majora, which are the external lips can vary from around 2.7 to 4.7 inches (7 to 12 cm) in length and the clitoris also ranges from about 0.1 to 1.3 inches (5 to 35 mm) in size but swells and enlarges if a woman is aroused.
Vaginas and Vulvas Can Also Change Colour
When you’re horny, blood rushes to your vulva and vagina. This can make the color of your skin in that area appear darker. Don’t worry though, it’ll go back to its normal shade after sexy time is over.
75% of Women Can’t Orgasm from Penetration Alone
75% of women can’t orgasm from penetration alone, that means only one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm during intercourse – no matter how big your penis is, no matter how long it lasts, and no matter how the woman feels about the man or the relationship.
This statistic comes from a comprehensive analysis of 33 studies over the past 80 years by Elisabeth Lloyd in her book ‘The Case of the Female Orgasm’ (Harvard University Press).
Regardless of how shocking this low statistic may be for some, there’s actually some people out there who can experience both a vaginal and clitoral orgasm at the same time, also called a “blended orgasm,” which may sound rare but it’s totally possible for some. There are also plenty of perfectly healthy bodies that rarely or never get all the way to orgasm, especially via penetration. Read our article ‘The Female Orgasm and Squirting: The Truths’ to find out more about female orgasms.
Female Orgasms Aren’t What You Think They Are
Most orgasms aren’t earth-shattering and that’s ok (and they’ll probably be A LOT better doing them yourself). However the media and porn’s overly theatrical portrayal of what it looks like to have an orgasm has created an unrealistic standard for what an orgasm should be. The truth is, orgasms come in all shapes and sizes – and that means intense lip-biting, back-arching, or having your soul sucked out of your body doesn’t have to be involved (every time).
Some orgasms will be short and light, while others may feel more powerful and intense – I’m sure this is the same case for men also.
The Size and Location of Your Clitoris Can Matter for Orgasm
Studies have revealed that the anatomy may be key to female orgasm; the reason some people with vaginas have trouble orgasming during penetrative sex could be because of a relatively small clitoris that’s located a bit too far from the vaginal opening. So if you’ve got a small clit that’s relatively high up from your vaginal opening and you don’t orgasm during penetrative sex – that’s probably why.
Is the Female G-Spot a Lie?
According to a recent Cosmo investigation, a team of researchers officially coined the term “G-spot” in the early ’80s; they named the thing, which they described as a “sensitive small bean,” for German researcher Ernst Gräfenberg (yes, a man). And just like that, your most frustrating fake body part was born. Dozens of trials used surveys, pathologic specimens, imaging, and biochemical markers to try to pinpoint the elusive G-spot once and for all.
“I don’t think we have any evidence that the G-spot is a spot or a structure,” says Nicole Prause, PhD, a neuroscientist who studies orgasms and sexual arousal. “I’ve never understood why it was interpreted as some new sexual organ. You can’t standardise a vagina – there is no consistency across women as to where exactly we experience pleasure.”
The orgasm expert Prause continues, “For some women, there is sexual sensitivity where the G-spot is supposed to be. But for others, there’s none. Or it’s to the left. Or it’s in a few places. And that’s kind of the whole point. It’s all okay. It can all feel good.”
Yes Vaginas Can Tear When Giving Birth
Yes, vaginas can tear when giving birth, but it’s actually a really common thing. So common that up to 9 in every 10 first time mothers who have a vaginal birth will experience some sort of tear, graze or episiotomy.
Tears can occur inside the vagina or other parts of the vulva, including the labia. It is however, slightly less common for mothers who have had a vaginal birth before. These ‘injuries’ can be minor tears or a longer cut (called an episiotomy) made intentionally by a healthcare provider when, for example, the baby is positioned feet-first or the delivery needs to happen faster. Scary? Yes. Irreparable? Nope! Your vagina is resilient and due to ample blood supply, actually heals quicker than other parts of the body.
We’ve all heard of the ‘G-spot’ , but have you heard of the A-spot? Also known as the anterior fornix erogenous zone, the A-spot is believed to be located deep inside the vagina, between the cervix and the bladder.
According to Medical News Today, the A-spot is a relatively new discovery by Malaysian researcher Dr. Chua Chee Ann. In a study, he reported that 10-15 minutes of A-spot stimulation led to instant orgasms and vaginal lubrication in 15 percent of women who reported pain and dryness during sexual intercourse.
There Is No Cherry to ‘Pop’
‘Popping the cherry’ otherwise known as losing your virginity and tearing your hymen, is actually a myth. Some women are born without one, but most people with vaginas are born with a hymen, a thin piece of skin that stretches across part of the vaginal opening. Despite what you may have heard, at no point in your life will this piece of skin ‘pop.’
Hymens often tear before a person ever has penetrative sex, during some unsexy activity like riding a horse or putting in a tampon. But it’s also common for the hymen to tear during sex, in which case a bit of blood is to be expected. Like anything body related, amount of blood etc will vary from person to person. But not having a hymen doesn’t mean you’re not a virgin and that you’ve had sex before – it’s merely a fake construct created by society. You can be a virgin and not have a hymen – for numerous reasons.
Vaginas Aren’t Supposed to Smell of Strawberries
Vaginas aren’t supposed to smell of strawberries, but they are supposed to have a smell. This should be common knowledge by now but it’s not. The bottom line? The vagina contains a highly specialised cult of bacteria that work 24/7 to keep your vaginal pH healthy and balanced and at an optimal level to ward off other hostile bacteria. And like other bacteria, these do have a smell. After all, the vagina self-cleanses, so let it do it’s thing. But if the odor becomes strong, unpleasant, or is accompanied with an unusual discharge, it’s time to see the doctor.
Vaginal Discharge is Totally Normal!
It’s totally normal to see discharge – which may be thin or thick, clear or white-ish – in your underwear at the end of the day (it can vary from person to person). This is the result of your vagina’s cleaning efforts. Cleaning techniques like douching are a bad idea because they can throw off this natural balance, leading to problems like bacterial vaginosis and infection. Discharge also changes throughout your cycle, right before your flow it’s creamier and thicker.
Dr. Boyle for Cosmopolitan says, “The change in your discharge during ovulation creates a hospitable environment for the sperm to travel up to the egg. If it ever itches, burns, smells foul, or looks like cottage cheese, see your gyno.”
Your Vagina Doesn’t ‘Fart’
All women have experienced it at one point or another: that embarrassing yet uncontrollable emission of air from the vagina, which is commonly known as “queefing.” Those little puffs of air that emerge from our lady parts are simply that – trapped air that is being released from the vaginal canal, and can commonly happen during sex if air gets trapped. They are not “farts” in the traditional sense because they are not waste gases, nor do they emit an unpleasant odor. Queefs really aren’t a big deal.
There are two major causes of vaginal pain: Vaginismus, which causes the vaginal muscles to contract involuntarily, which can make it difficult or impossible to have sex, or even use a tampon. Read our article on Vaginismus – which also includes an anonymous confession – here. The other, characterised by vulva pain, burning, or sensitivity/discomfort so intense that direct touch is hard to bear, isVulvodynia. Vulvodynia cannot be linked to a specific cause, but the pain may or may not be triggered by touch and may be felt in one area or across the whole vulva. Us women don’t have it easy!
PEE AFTER SEX!
Too much action in a short period of time may leave you chafed or with a urinary tract infection. Fortunately, drinking extra fluids, cranberry juice in particular, and peeing post-sex can keep a UTI at bay.
Lots of Sex Won’t Stretch it Out.
Lots of sex won’t stretch it out, the vagina is incredibly elastic, so it always returns to its usual tightness after sex. Nor will it shrink if you go through a dry spell. At first, your vaginal muscles may be tense after weeks or month without sex or foreplay, but penetration shouldn’t be painful. You can strengthen it like any other muscle. Your pelvic floor muscles hold your vagina, uterus, rectum, and urethra in place. But doing kegels can strengthen the muscles surrounding your urethral and vaginal openings.
You Can Lift Weights with Your Vagina!!
If you are worried about your vagina potentially having ‘loosened’ then fear not – you can lift weights with your vagina! Have you ever heard of vaginal weightlifting? It is the act of inserting an ‘anchor’ into the vagina that’s attached to a weight on a string and it’s actually a proven way to strengthen your pelvic floor (makes the vagina ‘tighter’). There are also other methods of vaginal weightlifting such as kegels mentioned prior.
Sex and relationship coach Kim Anami is a vocal advocate for the exercise. She says stronger vaginal muscles can make sex last longer and feel better.
Hopefully you have learnt at least one new thing about vaginas through reading this artcle, check out our previous posts on the menu!
Sending nudes has been a thing since the beginning of time, and more so since you could e-mail pictures. Nudes go way back, all the way over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece where they literally sculpted real-life nudes into statues. In recent times the naked body has been sexualised more and more, and coming in to the 20th century solidified the evolution of homosapians sex drives and sexual exploration all together. People began encapsulating the human body for not only art, but erotic use too, whether that be between two individuals or to be sold on.
As technology and humans have developed we can now take an immaculate renaissance photos of our bodies anywhere at any time with the click of a button. Like anything, when something becomes more accessible – you’re more likely to do it. Having access to mobile phones with installed cameras with insane quality and social media, it takes less than a minute to take and send a nude. It’s quick, it’s easy – but that’s the problem sometimes, you aren’t thinking about who you send it to. Further down the article will delve more into this.
I’m going to discuss revenge porn, how to protect yourself (more) online, the dangers of sending explicit photos online and the reasons why people do it. Why do you send nudes? Probably the same reason as the next person.
Are You Over 18?
Did you know that if you’re under the age of 18, and you send sexually explicit images of yourself, you can get done with distributing photos of child pornography – even though the images are of yourself?
Child Law Advice states, “In the UK the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16. However, it is an offence to make, distribute, possess or show any indecent images of anyone aged under 18, even if the content was created with the consent of that young person. The law is contained in section 1 Protection of Children Act 1978.”
Likewise, the recipient of the image can also get done for being in possession of child pornography if the person in the images is under the age of 18. There’s a great series on BBC iPlayer called ‘Nudes’ about three young people who’s sex lives are shared online and their life is turned upside down after their private content goes public.
The Dangers of Sending Nudes Online
Ultimately most of us do know the dangers of sending nudes online and that is.. They can get out.
It’s a risk any way you look at it because everything online is forever – soon as you post anything – no matter if you delete it or it ‘disappears’ it’s somewhere there on the cloud and someone will be able to access it. The world is a scary place now due to the advancement of technology, thanks to the internet. Nothing seems sacred anymore. This article isn’t to stop you from sending nudes, nor is it saying you should be sending nudes it’s more of a third eye – don’t be ignorant to the possibilities. It’s all well and good thinking we live in a perfect world and you shouldn’t have to worry about these things, but we don’t and you do. You need to protect yourself.
Also, with the slip of your thumb you could end up posting it for everyone to see, or sending to the wrong person by accident – there’s always a risk involved.
So if you do send your significant other – or anybody else for that matter – explicit content just think about a few things before you do, and stay safe. Make sure you trust them, and if you don’t, either tell them you don’t trust them or just point blank refuse. Consent is consent no matter which way you look at it. If you say no, they don’t have the right to question that answer. No means no!
Things to Consider Before Sending Nudes
Do you trust this person?
Are you sending this nude because you want to? You aren’t being pressured into sending it are you?
Are you sending it with your face in? To avoid proof of identity when it comes to sending images, be aware if you have any tattoos/ birthmarks/ or any other significant marks on your body that you can be easily identified by. Therefore, if you do happen to send an explicit image, try to avoid including those. Likewise, your face – try and avoid sending images with your face in as you won’t be able to 100% identify it as you. Therefore if your images do get exposed, there’s no proof ultimately to prove that the content is of you.
What is Revenge Porn?
As it goes, we still have a long way to go on criminalising revenge porn, and I am personally disgusted at how the law handles it. But at least we are getting somewhere. On the 13th April 2015 Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 came into force. This created a new criminal offence of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress. This is more commonly known as revenge porn. Crucial to the offence are: (a) the lack of consent of the individual appearing in the photograph and film; and (b) the intent to cause that individual distress. The legislation made sharing of such images or films a specific offence in its own right and covered all social media platforms and electronic communication. A person who is found guilty of an offence of sharing sexual or private photographs or videos without consent can be sentenced to up to two years in prison or fined, or both. The punishment should definitely be higher considering the damage it can cause to someone’s livlihood. Revenge porn can destroy someone’s home life, family, relationships, career, future, everything! And no – it’s not their fault for the images being in the hands of the wrong person.
Revenge Porn – What Happens When Private Becomes Public?
Did you know revenge porn is illegal in the UK?
What to do if someone threatens to expose your private images – don’t fall into the blackmail. It is illegal. Keep record of all communication between you and your blackmailer. Also, if you choose to make a video of you having sex with someone and it’s to be kept between the two of you – it should be kept between the two of you. If that person consents to the act, they’re not consenting to it being shared as well. Just because you consent to one thing doesn’t mean you consent to whole array of other things. Learn more about consent on my Condoms and Consent article.
This also goes for hacking. Although there can be things to consider before you send an explicit image – revenge porn isn’t your fault. Just because you shared a photo or an intimate moment in confidence with someone, doesn’t mean that you consent to other people being able to see it.
Revenge Porn Laws
The law states that it is not revenge porn if the photograph or video is shared for the purposes of journalism. For example, a private photograph of you could be published in a newspaper as part of a news story if the person who shared the photograph reasonably believed it was in the public interest.
The law also states that it is not an offence for someone to share a photograph or video of you if they believed that it had already been shared or published, with your consent and that you had been paid. For example, if there is a photograph of you on a pornographic website, someone might see it and assume you have consented to it being posted and been paid for the photo. They might then share it with someone else. That is not an offence. However if the person who originally posted the image did so without your consent, they may be guilty of an offence.
Why Do People Send Nudes? Naked is Normal!
Body positivity and body confidence is not anything that should be shunned. Taking nude photos of yourself can increase confidence proportionally, and help with self-esteem and self-acceptance. You may not even be taking nudes to send to anybody else, maybe you take them because you want to feel good. Mood is also a dependent factor on whether someone may or may not want to send/receive nudes. We can’t pretend that sending nudes simply isn’t a thing – because it is – especially in this generation. But not everyone wants to see a dick pic at 7am in the morning – some may, but not all.
However, if you’ve ever been subject to revenge porn abuse, you may have a distorted version on the topic of taking and sending nudes now. Just because one person has betrayed your trust doesn’t mean that everyone in your life will behave in that way. Learn to love yourself again, and your body – in its full glory. If you don’t send nude pictures for whatever reason – that is your prerogative and you don’t need to explain yourself. Consent is the main thing in any sexual scenario and you have the right to your own privacy.
Likewise for those who want to embrace their nakedness online and in a public fashion you’re also well within your rights to do that, just bare in mind the dangers and risks that can surround in doing so. As they saying goes, “Nudity can empower some and modesty can empower others.” So whether you choose to send nudes or not – it doesn’t make a difference – we are all human and we have needs. Some want to send nudes, others don’t – that’s fine. Just respect other people’s decisions and if someone trusts you enough to send you explicit images or record a sex tape with you – don’t be a dick.
Having had a few friends ponder the thought as to whether they may be suffering with something called ‘endometriosis’ has brought to light the confusion surrounding this condition. The symptoms of endometriosis can vary. Some women are badly affected, while others might not have any noticeable symptoms. It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis because the symptoms can vary considerably, and many other conditions can cause similar symptoms.
The NHS states, “Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.” Endometriosis can affect women of any age and it is a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life, but there are treatments that can help.
With endometriosis being such a common condition yet incredibly taunting and painful at times, I thought it would be better to learn first-hand about it by interviewing those that have been affected. Two participants came forward to speak out about their experiences, which Shit Happens is incredibly grateful for. Participant one wants to remain anonymous so we shall call her ‘X’, and the other participant is called Sarah Rose. If you think you may have endometriosis, hopefully reading these first-hand experiences will enlighten you more on what it is, what the symptoms are, and how you can go about dealing with it.
How Long Have You Had Endometriosis For?
X: “I’ve had endo since I was 17, so eight years.” Sarah: “I have had endometriosis symptoms since I was 8 years old – 21 years ago. I got diagnosed in July 2019. My symptoms eased age 12-18 as I developed anorexia to manage the pain. Upon recovery at 18 the symptoms returned.”
What Symptoms Did/Do You Have?
X: “The symptoms I had were extreme pain during a period, and I always have period cramps even when I’m not due on. I probably have one or two days a month where I don’t have cramps or back pain. I have painful cramps around the time of ovulation too.”
“I also suffer from extreme constipation (which I’m that used to now, it doesn’t seem extreme anymore). I can go 8-11 days without going, and then I get awful back pain and tiredness etc. I have to take daily sachets of ‘macrogol’ to help (and it doesn’t). When I’m due on, I get kidney infections due to blood in my urine. I’m constantly bloated and look five months pregnant at around week two of my cycle. I get pain during sex at around week two and three as well. Oh, and the biggest issue is that I’m also infertile due to endo and some other reproductive illnesses.”
How Long Did You Have It/ Notice Symptoms Before You Got Diagnosed?
X: “ I noticed a real change when I became sexually active at around fifteen, and when I started taking the pill. I took the pill for six months and that did absolutely nothing. I had the depo injection for six months and again, that did nothing and I bled heavily for six months. Since then I have never been on any other contraception, as I knew from that moment that I would never naturally get pregnant (weird, right?) But I was diagnosed at seventeen when my periods started to become irregular.”
Sarah: “From onset of symptoms to diagnosis as an adult, 11 years, but since my first symptoms began as a child, 21.”
Has Endometriosis Ever Affected Your Mental Health?
“Any form of chronic pain will impact your mental health, especially when you are not believed for decades.”
Like anything that makes life more difficult, it’s not uncommon for it to have an impact on your mental health. Especially for women who want children, being told that may not be a possibility for you can be harrowing on your mental health, but there are other options available.
Further according to the NHS, “Endometriosis can cause fertility problems. This is not fully understood, but is thought to be because of damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries. But not all women with endometriosis will have problems and will eventually be able to get pregnant without treatment.”
X: “I would say it did affect my mental health yes as I’m always in pain and have been for ten years, and people just don’t understand. They just assume it’s ‘normal period pain’ but actually what is normal period pain? Everyone’s periods are different and men have a completely different view on it. Women are sympathetic, but again, you don’t know how painful someone’s period actually is. The last three years I’ve had awful pain in my hips, thighs and knees when I come on my period and it’s awful walking around.”
“Even though I knew from around sixteen I wouldn’t ever have kids naturally, when I first got told it would be a ‘struggle’ it does mess with your head because you get the whole “what sort of woman am I if I can’t do the only thing a woman should do” but I pushed it to the back of my mind because I was only a kid and it didn’t affect me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen my mates having kids, abortions, and going into care and it sort of fucked with my head as I knew I would never get that. It was only when I’d met my long-term boyfriend that I thought well this is something we could look into.”
“I was also really upfront about it as well, so when we first went on dates I thought I’d better tell him now that I can’t have kids instead of wasting our time and he was fine with that. He said he did want kids and that there was medical help for it, or adoption which was really refreshing to hear. So whatever bad news I’ve had since then, hasn’t affected me that much, as I know I have his support.”
“I just get super worried in case it upsets him, and I worry about how it’s affecting him knowing that we might never have our own. As now we have been together years, have a mortgage and a dog but we are about to start IVF – so hopefully a baby soon!”
Sarah: “Hugely. From developing anorexia as a teen, to long bouts of hopelessness, depression, suicidal attempts and self harm. Any form of chronic pain will impact your mental health, especially when you are not believed for decades.”
Have You Ever Had Surgery to Cut Away the Endometriosis Tissue?
There’s currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms. One of the treatments is cutting away the endometriosis tissue, both participants had very different experiences.
X: “I had surgery to remove endo from my urethra about three years ago. It made my life hell, and it must have been there for the previous year or two. I started suffering badly with UTI’s, kidney and bladder infections. As I wasn’t passing enough urine, or it was stupidly painful and the doctors would just say it was “cystitis” or I “wasn’t drinking enough water” – even though I was drinking 2-3ltrs a day. Currently I’m waiting to see if it has spread to my bladder and bowel, but unfortunately tests couldn’t go ahead due to Covid!”
Sarah: “I’m going to assume this question is in regard to excision surgery? During a laparoscopic surgery there are two removal methods: excision or ablation, excision is the gold standard as it cuts out the Endo at the root, whereas ablation burns the top layer leaving the rest of the disease behind. I was lucky to be able to access excision, but I had to travel to England as accessing excision is limited and largely depends on what country you live in. It is a postcode lottery and many people cannot access it and have to travel or go private for care. It should be available to everyone who wants it. It shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be the standard. I hope one day all patients can access excision if they want to.”
*Be Careful of Misinformation*
When asked if there was anything else they would like to add, Sarah added, “Endometriosis is often referred to as the endometrium or womb lining, which is incorrect. This misinformation is incredibly dangerous as it pushes the idea that if you stop the periods you stop Endo (WRONG!). It also suggests that only those who menstruate can have Endo when we know it can occur prior to your first period and persist after the menopause, you can have Endo without a uterus. Definitely check out @endogirlsblog @endoireland @endoawareni and @centerforendocare to learn more about Endo. Remember that you deserve the best care and a doctor who listens and respects you and your care choices. You are the decision maker in the doctor patient relationship and it is always your journey your way.”
For those who think they may have endometriosis, I hope this article has helped to answer some questions and for those who are just curious – I hope this has helped to educate you more on the matter of the realities that people face when living with endometriosis. Thank you very much to both participants, and if there is anything anyone would like to talk to Shit Happens about, send an e-mail over to email@example.com and I would be happy to talk.
I feel sick at the thought of posting this article. This topic is quite a sensitive topic for me, and below I will go into detail of my own experiences. I’ve decided to write this article because the amount of times the date rape drug gets used and how often people get away with it is partly down to miseducation. After watching Michaela Coels ‘I May Destroy You’ series on BBC it highlighted to me just how passive rape and sexual assault is in life, for both men and women – so I wanted to speak out about one of my own experiences.
What is the Date Rape Drug?
According to WebMD , “Date-rape drugs are substances that make it easier for someone to rape or sexually assault another person. They include alcohol and some medications. The person who’s attacked might become confused, have trouble defending themselves, or not be able to remember what happened later. “Date rape” doesn’t always happen on a date. An attacker could be someone you just met or someone you’ve known for a while.”
An attacker can use several kinds of drugs or medications to overpower someone else or cause them to forget an incident. The most common date-rape drugs are: GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) also referred to as ‘liquid ecstasy’, rohypnol, and ketamine. Alcohol enhances the effects of these drugs. None of these drugs have a smell or taste, making them unidentifiable as such when you’re drinking. However, apparently rohypnol used to come as a white tablet that didn’t have a smell or taste, but drug companies now make it as a light green pill with a blue core. If someone puts it in a clear drink, the liquid turns blue. However, some generic pills may not have the blue dye and your drink may not be a clear liquid – so we aren’t 100% safe yet.
I’m sure we all know someone that has fallen victim to the date rape drug, be that yourself or someone else. I’ve encountered and experienced this twice myself, and it’s horrendous. You lose full control of any speech, and of your body. You can’t move at all, it’s like you’re completely paralysed but your brain is working. You’re still there, but you’re not. There’s one encounter where I was out drinking with my friends and I was certain I got drugged, although it only occurred to me a few days after when I told a family member about my experience and they pointed out “ that doesn’t sound like drink, that sounds like someone put something in your drink”. I went from being happily drunk to losing my vision, being sick for around thirty minutes until my friend found me, and then I couldn’t hold myself up or talk. She thought I was just drunk – everyone did – and that’s what makes these drugs so dangerous.
My second experience I’m not 100% sure, but the situation wasn’t consensual either way. I went out on a date, I had a few drinks – but I can handle my alcohol. The bars were closing, so I agreed to have a drink back at his hotel room but made it clear I would have to leave after the one drink because I had somewhere I needed to be in the morning. He kept telling me to drink my drink because I was chatting loads and I thought nothing of it. Then all of a sudden I’ve blacked out and he’s having sex with me? I’m not going into further detail but when I left – again – not until weeks later did I realise what had happened until someone said “that doesn’t sound right, are you… ok?” I shan’t go into any further detail.
I left the hotel room immediately afterwards and got into a taxi, freaked out by what had just happened, and then I just tried not to think about it. I could barely get up the stairs when I got home, I missed my alarm the next morning and the next day I felt exactly the same as I did the first time I got spiked. I had a huge hangover and felt completely out of sorts the next morning. Whether I got drugged with the same thing both times, is debatable – but that’s besides the point.
The date rape drug isn’t just used to rape people, some sick people in the world will do it simply for a laugh. The first time it happened to me I was just out drinking with my friend in the pubs, no men involved, so how my drink got drugged – I don’t know when, or where it happened – I just remember losing all sense of consciousness. When I was at the bar an old friend started chatting to me and my vision just went and I was asking “sorry, but who are you?” then they told me and I just remember feeling really confused and trying to get to the toilet ASAP to be sick, whilst I still could.
In the first instance I count myself lucky because I was with a friend and out in public, so I managed to get home safe without anything happening. The second instance I wasn’t so lucky. The date rape drug is incredibly real and is used a lot more than people like to admit. It’s not necessarily used by strangers all the time as people like to think, it’ll be used on dates, and by those you trust. As my nan always says, “if you ever have to leave your drink – just buy another one – it’s worth the cost.” But what if the guy you’re on a date with is at the bar buying your drink? You shouldn’t have to feel on edge and paranoid when you go on a date, or go out drinking just in case someone drugs you – because it shouldn’t be happening anyway. If they’re going to drug you, they’ll find a way to do it. Let’s stop blaming the victims and start punishing the perpetrators. The security in bars/ clubs and restaurants should be monitoring the bar area on CCTV anyway, why are they not on alert for suspect behaviour?
Don’t Gaslight Yourself!
The date rape drug is horrendous for so many reasons, and the fact that it has so many similar side effects as alcohol (just more enhanced) is one of the scariest things about it, as you question your own tolerance. Did I just drink too much and black out or did someone drug me? You’re always trying to justify things NOT happening instead of realising the reality and what actually happened. When you have time to think after the incident you soon realise that you aren’t being dramatic, however you still remain in two minds. For example, on my second instance – I didn’t want to sleep with this guy, I ALWAYS use condoms and because I’m not on contraceptive I’d never let anyone finish in me. Why did that happen? Not because I was ‘drunk’ – it was because I blacked out and was incapable of saying no, or even realising what was going on. Have I ever been that drunk? No. Stop gaslighting yourself.
Another one of the worst things about the date rape drug is because it has similar effects to alcohol, you often don’t realise until a few days later that you got drugged – so you can’t report it, and how are they ever going to find the person that drugged your drink if you were out drinking with friends? The police don’t care enough to investigate, so the people that are date raping people are constantly getting away with it. What they decide to do with you after the effects have taken their toll is often the unknown, or remains in a blurred memory but again – by the time you realise – it’s too late.
Look out for your friends, and if your ‘friend’ is someone that drugs people – REPORT THEM! There’s some truly despicable human beings on this planet that will do whatever they want regardless of the impact it may have on other people, purely because they know they will get away with it and won’t get caught.
What Can I Do to Help a Friend?
An overview of sexual offending in England and Wales revealed that, approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men (aged 16 – 59) experience rape, attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration in England and Wales alone every year; that’s roughly 11 of the most serious sexual offences (of adults alone) every hour. Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report to the police, and approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence.
Therefore, when most sexual assaults take place they don’t get reported and it’s because of the obscene amount of evidence required after the event has taken place. You can’t wash yourself, you can’t brush your teeth, or change your clothes, you have to remain feeling dirty so they can take evidence. Evidence which most of the time proves to be ‘insufficient’.
Tell me, who is going to go straight to a police station after they’ve been assaulted to go and not be believed anyway? Date raping needs to be watched and monitored a lot more especially in public places because the people that do it are serial offenders as they know they won’t get caught after getting away with it so many times before.
If a friend opens up to you about an incident where they think, or know, they got drugged – don’t allow them to gaslight themselves and encourage them to report it as most people won’t – I didn’t. Listen to your friend and don’t use excuses like “maybe you just drank too much” or “you shouldn’t have gone back to his hotel room” because trust me – that does not help.
If you feel as though you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped, contact the National Rape Crisis Helpline: It is open between 12:00-14:30 and 19:00-21:30 every day of the year – call 0808 802 9999.
Besides the debate that sex toys have become normalized for women and not men, I disagree. I think sex toys are still extremely taboo in today’s society – regardless of gender – and there’s still a notion of opinion regarding sex toys being ‘dirty’, ‘weird’, and ‘sexually deviant’ when in solo use, or deemed ‘unecessary’ when regarding couples sex. This opinion needs to change.
Single and Want a Sex Toy? There’s No Shame in the Sex Toy Game!
It’s 2020, we’re currently a part of a global pandemic which makes it near enough impossible for singletons to start forming relationships of any kind really. So just why is there still judgement and a stigma around masturbating with a device for assisted pleasure? What difference does it really make whether you wank with your fingers or with a clit vibrator? Likewise for men, why is it ‘disgusting’ or ‘weird’ for them to have a fleshlight? That’s just the female equivalent of having a dildo. Why do people feel the need to buy sex toys? Because they feel fucking good!!
Obviously, judgment of the use of sex toys more often than not comes from individuals that don’t use sex toys. “Why should we use them ?” some people may ask. Because they not only help to get you off, and heighten your orgasms, but they also help you to explore your own sensuality too. Using a sex toy is a guaranteed good experience, because you’re in 100% control as to how your body reacts and what’s going on, unlike the ‘real’ thing.
The thought of not having sex for six months makes me want to jump off the face of the planet, but being single, having a sex toy decreases the need for seeking sexual pleasure in another person. The stress free way to orgasm.. Do it on your own! I mean a sex toy cant pull your hair, choke you and fuck you all at the same time so they’re not a perfect replacement as such, but a good one nontheless. And probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your life.
Granted, the experience of using toys is different for each individual. For example, some women might prefer vibes on their clit, whilst others prefer a dildo inside of them, or someone agreeing to use a blindfold, but not handcuffs – preferences vary. However with a plethora of options out there, it would be rude to not try before you decide to form a negative opinion.
For those in relationships, just what is it with people, but mainly men, and their insecurities not wanting their partners using sex toys full stop? Some find it somewhat demeaning to their masculinity and may manipulate their partners into thinking that by using sex toys they are seeking sexual pleasure elsewhere. If this is ever the case, tell them to get stuffed. Toys over boys!
Why Sex Toys Are Good for Your Relationship
Some partners may feel insecure at the fact they feel as though they can’t pleasure their partner enough if they want to incorporate sex toys into their love life, however that is just not the case. Sex toys are more than just a bit of added fun. In fact women feel such a way about their partners knowing about their sex toys, a survey by the sex toy retailer TooTimid.com of over 1,413 women found out that 54 percent of them hide their sex toys from their partners.
This shows just how prevalent the taboo surrounding the sex toy stigma still is in today’s society. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed of your partner knowing about your masturbation habits, how is the stigma surrounding sex toys ever going to end? Women, especially, find it a lot harder to cum than men, using a toy just helps you to get there a little bit quicker.
Besides the popular myth that every woman can cum, and that women can cum at the click of a finger – that is simply not true. The female orgasm is a lot more complicated than that. Reciting from my article on The Female Orgasm and Squirting: the Truths, 75% of women can’t cum from penetration alone. Being able to orgasm depends a lot on foreplay for a woman, and heavily on clitoral stimulation in order to achieve it. Toys can be a great addition to foreplay, and really add to the experience as a whole.
Introducing toys to the bedroom, doesn’t mean your sex is boring and needs ‘spicing up’ it can be for many reasons. Being blindfolded can greatly diminish insecurities for some, and a small vibrator may be the thing that helps your partner reach the big ‘O’. Plus, toys aren’t just for fun: they can also assist those that struggle with erectile dysfunction, which is incredibly common. In fact, 1 in 4 men under the age of 40 experience erectile dysfunction (ED) in their life, meaning they can’t stay hard enough to finish sexual intercourse, and bringing some toys into the game can be a way to pass that.
The Sex Toy Stigma Against Men
Over at our Instagram handle @shshithappens I did a poll to see who uses sex toys – a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer was required. Most of the yes’ were women meanwhile most of the no’s were males which begs the questions; if toxic masculinity is the reason, the lack of sex toys on the market for men, or if they simply are not interested?
Vice states a fair point in terms of sex toy marketing, “Women were affirmed by the ‘Rabbit’ episode in Sex and the City, while men who use sex toys have their entire identity questioned. These days, erotic devices are tastefully marketed to suburban moms on vanilla lifestyle websites”
For solo sex, fleshlights can be incredibly satisfying for men, and can feel really good on the penis when filled with lube as it has the suction feeling of a vagina or anus depending on your preference, and then the wet feeling too – which the lube adds. However, like mentioned previously there’s often an assumption that follows when a man owns a sex toy for solo masturbation such as a fleshlight.
But why? It’s literally the dildo equivalent. If a man buys, or wants a fleshlight, so what? Sex toys are a way of exploring your own sensuality in full control and seeing what gets you off. A fleshlight creates a similar experience to a vagina, but at the same time it’s such a different experience because you’re in full control of every single sensation on your penis – unlike a vagina which behaves a lot differently. The same concept but two different experiences – just like using a dildo vs an actual penis. Fleshlights nowadays have developed and are incredibly innovative, not all look like vagina’s – some look more like machines. Masturbating with your hand or with a toy is no different, bar the sensation. For more information on sex toys for men head over to my Sex Toys article.
The Independent states, “The benefits of orgasm are huge for both physical and mental well-being, and recent research from Harvard Medical School has found that regular orgasms can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by 22 per cent, so anything that adds or enables an orgasm can only be a good thing.”
Overall, sex toys are nothing to be ashamed of. Whether you’re worried about your partner finding out, your dad finding your dildo or the postman seeing your non-discreet package… who gives a fuck? We all do it!