Category Archives: Men’s Health

Tom Price: Unhealthy choice for leader US Healthcare Services

By: Nicole McLaren


In the past two weeks the Trump administration has dominated the news, some of this has been about the nominations he has made for leadership positions in the executive branch. He has nominated Tom Price for Health and Human Services. This nomination could have a direct impact on access to healthcare services and could dis-proportionally affect women and others who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

Tom Price is a congressman for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. During his time in Congress he sponsored bills that attempt to dismantle federal funding for healthcare services and he has spent years attempting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. There is also speculation that he used his power as a US representative to benefit a health company that he owns stock in. The bill reversed cuts in reimbursements to the company. Since 2012 he has traded about $300,000 worth of shares in almost 40 different health companies. He has directly benefited from the rising cost of health care in the US which poses a problem if he is going to be the leader of Health and Human Services.

He will now be in a place of power to directly influence healthcare in the US if he is confirmed as the head of Health and Human Services. This nomination could have direct impact on the access to affordable healthcare. The ability to access healthcare services including reproductive and preventative healthcare is extremely important. For women to be able to participate in society we must have access to these services so that we have a choice and a say in our futures.

It is also important to think about the impact this will have on women who need access to reproductive healthcare through Planned Parenthood and how funding for Health and Human Services could hurt the ability to access these things. Healthcare is a fundamental right for all people and we have to work to make that a reality.{%22search%22:[%22tom+price%22]}&resultIndex=1

Our Senior Citizens & Safe Sex!

Sexually transmitted infections in the elderly are a growing concern in today’s society. People in our society may be surprised if Elderly and Sexual Transmitted infection is in the same sentence but it is now being more of a reality and issue that needs to be addressed. There are various reasons why this is a reoccurring issue due to unsafe practices, lack of education, and also embarrassment. It’s also important to note that the Physicians that are treating the elderly are not asking the proper questions like, “Do you practice safe sex?” That is because society as a whole is not realizing that the elderly are having sex and are craving that intimate connection. Just because age doesn’t make them less of a human being and I think it’s important to remember that they have needs to.

Education of sexual transmitted diseases, protection, and how to use it is imperative for the elderly population and retirement facilities. Research shows that syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, genital herpes, hepatitis B, genital warts, and trichomoniasis are showing up more commonly with the elderly population. Other contributions to the spread of diseases are new drugs that prevent erectile dysfunction, online dating, and the uneven numbers of men and women in different facilities. It’s important to start a conversation with an elderly person concerning their sexual health they may not be aware of the risks associated with having sex.


Self Love is Safe Love: A History of Masturbation

grab the Heart.retro photo image.

Today we are re-running an oldie, but so very goodie: Fosgood’s history of masturbation post. Enjoy!

Masturbation has a long and colorful history.  According to some ancient Egyptian myths, the god Apsu created the Milky Way when he copulated with his fist. (This certainly gives star gazing a new twist!) Greek men and women both were known to masturbate and saw it as a gift from the gods. They believed the god Hermes taught his son Pan how to masturbate to help heal his broken heart when he was rejected by the nymph, Echo.

Some took it a bit too far: the philosopher Diogenes masturbated in public stating that no human activity should be seen so shameful that it must be done in private; his fellow citizens disagreed. The physician Galen felt that the retention of semen is dangerous and leads to sickness while Hippocrates cautioned that loss of excessive amounts of semen could result in physical damage, such as spinal cord deterioration.

Women in ancient Athens commonly purchased dildos known as olisbos, made of padded leather or wood. Greek men saw masturbation as a sign of poverty and if you had the money, you would pay someone to do it for you. A few centuries later, Roman boys were encouraged to deplete their sexual energies through philosophy and gymnastics, the Roman equivalent of a cold shower.

Many of the negative attitudes about masturbation are attributed to the Bible, but no mention of masturbation is found; actually, what is referred to is the story of Onan, who  protested God’s commandment to impregnate his brother’s widow, whom he did have sex with but pulled out and “spilled his seed.”  From here, things went way downhill. An early Christian bishop taught that masturbation was a worse sin than adultery, rape and incest because it was “unnatural” and a form of contraception. On and on the debate went for many centuries. By 1729 the “post-masturbation disease” came with a long list of serious and debilitating symptoms and charlatans made a killing selling cures for this dreaded affliction.

Things became so extreme that be the turn of the 20th century parents were encouraged to have their sons circumcised so as not to be aroused when cleaning their foreskins and daughters to have clitoridectomies (removal of the clitoris).  Parents were encouraged to place their children in straightjackets, or wrap the child in cold wet sheets and apply leeches to remove blood and congestion, or burn genital tissue with hot irons to make sure their child had no access to their genitals at night where the evil deed was likely to happen.

There has been much improvement in the attitudes about masturbation, but there is still a long way to go. On a regular basis, health educators today still hear very negative responses about masturbation. (Female masturbation, in particular, is often greeted with something like, “Eww, that’s nasty!”) I’ve frequently asked parent groups concerned about masturbation if they would prefer their child masturbate or be out having sex, possibly causing a pregnancy or contracting a STI. That gets them thinking – though many would just prefer their child have no sexual feelings at all.

We know masturbation is an important way for people to discover their own sexuality, prevent infection (as long as their hands are clean), and prevent a pregnancy – and we would sincerely hope it’s sex with someone you love!

Edit: Historical facts come from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s white paper publication, Masturbation, From Stigma to Sexual Health.

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KeepCalmCondoms2Tomorrow, Nov. 10th, is “Thanks, Birth Control” (#ThxBirthControl) Day, dedicated to turning up the volume and turning down the controversy around birth control. Here at Feronia, we love to celebrate and thank birth control every day – but on this special day we want to recognize what birth control has meant to Americans: the ability to plan, prevent, and space pregnancies, more educational and economic opportunities, healthier babies, more stable families, and a reduced taxpayer burden.

There’s a lot to celebrate around birth control: The ability to plan, prevent, and space pregnancies is directly linked to benefits to women, men, children, and society, including more educational and economic opportunities, healthier babies, more stable families, and a reduced taxpayer burden.

  • Planning our families and using birth control can help women pursue their goals. The number of women in the workforce since 1965 has nearly tripled. And by 2013, more than six times as many women were completing four or more years of college than in 1960.
  • Many of the gains women have made since 1965 — in timing and spacing our children, in obtaining education, entering the workforce, and moving closer to pay equity — are the direct result of access to birth control.
  • Birth control was named one of the 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ninety-nine percent of sexually active American women have used birth control! It’s a normal part of women’s lives and should not be a taboo topic or the subject of political posturing.

Birth control is basic health care for women: The average woman will spend about 30 years of her life trying to avoid pregnancy. No single birth control method is right for all women at all times. Women’s reproductive needs change throughout their lives, and their birth control should match those needs.

For women who want to know about their birth control options, is a good place to start.

Want to join us tomorrow in saying thank you to birth control?! Here’s what you can do:

  • Use the hashtag #ThxBirthControl on your social media platforms and share these great graphics from Bedsider
  • Shout out your story — why you use birth control and how it’s helped you
  • Share this infographic on birth control with your followers
  • Keep the conversation going past the 10th with the hashtag #BirthControlHelpedMe
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How to Shop for Condoms

Today we’re reposting an oldie, but goodie. Happy condom shopping!

When you’re standing in the condom aisle, seconds seem like hours. Your eyes dart nervously across the colorful packaging, waiting for some clear sign that you should grab one particular box and make a mad dash for the checkout line. Oh yeah, then there’s that pack of gum to grab.

Condom shopping doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. If you use my three-point condom shopping system, you’ll be outta’ there and gettin’ busy before you know it.

Step #1 – Material

Condoms are made from three different materials – latex, polyurethane and lambskin.

  • Latex: helps prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; stretchy, yet durable; ring at base; reservoir tip for ejaculate; inexpensive (or free if you get them at the health department or Planned Parenthood)
  • Polyurethane (fancy word for plastic): helps prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, safe for those with a latex allergy; less stretchy than latex, but still durable, ring at base; reservoir tip for ejaculate; transfers heat better than latex; female condoms come in this material
  • Lambskin: helps prevent pregnancy ONLY (because it is made from animal intestinal lining, it has small pores that bacteria and viruses can fit through, but sperm are bigger, therefore contained by the condom); a bit more eco-friendly than latex or polyurethane; safe for those whose culture or religion dictates the use of a “natural” method of birth control or for those not worried about sexually transmitted infections; no ring at base (more like a drawstring); no reservoir tip for ejaculate; distinct odor; fairly expensive

So, decide which material is right for you and, when you’re shopping, let your eyes wander to the bottom right side of the boxes – that’s where the material type is usually printed. I recommend latex or polyurethane.

Step #2 – Expiration Date

Condoms are manufactured about 5 years before they expire so if your condoms expire next month, they’re already 5 years old. Age degrades the material, making condoms more likely to break. The expiration date is usually printed on the back or side flap of the box and on each individual condom, as seen below:


Step #3 – “The Extras”

By “extras” I mean lubricant, spermicide, size, texture, flavoring, etc. Here’s the skinny on the “extras”:

  • Lubricant: unless you have a bottle of safe lubricant (water-based, because oil-based breaks condoms) handy, opt for lubricated condoms for vaginal and/or anal sex. For oral sex, either get a dental dam or cut an unlubricated condom up the side.
  • Spermicide: this is often called nonoxynol-9 and is a chemical that helps to kill sperm. The use of spermicides is debatable on several fronts. Do your research before you decide on this one.
  • Size: condoms are basically one-size-fits-all. There are, however, “slim fit” and “extra large” versions. Just remember, condoms are SUPPOSED TO BE SNUG.
  • Texture: ribbed or studded – truth is, it doesn’t matter much, particulary for penis-in-vagina sex. Why? Because the vaginal walls have very few nerve endings, making it hard to feel tiny ribs or studs. Think about it – women can wear tampons for hours and not feel a thing! Really, ribs and studs and such are just marketing tools.
  • Flavoring: If it tastes like strawberries, that means it has some sugar and flavoring to make it taste like strawberries. These condoms are meant for oral sex only. Sugar can cause a yeast infection because it throws off the pH balance in the vagina.

But what about the brand name!!!??? I get this question a lot. Just pick a trusted brand. You might need to try various types of condoms before you find one that you really like.

If going to the store to purchase condoms or going to the health department or Planned Parenthood to get free ones is just too intimidating for you, do your shopping online.

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Can a Pregnancy Test Detect Testicular Cancer?

check lemonsA recent Facebook post claimed that a man took a pregnancy test and it came up positive. He thought it was funny but after mentioning it to a better informed friend, realized there may be something amiss. He went to his family doc and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Is this legit? Apparently, yes. According to WebMD certain types of cancer produce hormones. There are several types of testicular cancer but some make hormones. One of these hormones can be hCG, the same hormone produced by embryotic tissue during pregnancy, which is detected by a pregnancy test.  Another type of marker is an enzyme called alpha-fetaprotein or AFP, which a pregnancy test may also detect. And some types of testicular cancers don’t produce any markers at all.

So if a man gets a positive result on a pregnancy test does it mean he definitely has testicular cancer? Not necessarily. HCG is not unique to males having testicular cancer. Other cancers can also produce this hormone. False positives are common too. More testing is definitely called for.

online-doctor-cancerAlthough testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer found in males between 15 and 34, it’s still relatively rare. There are only 5.4 cases per 100,000 men each year. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against any routine testing for testicular cancer. Most testicular cancers are self-detected or found by a sex partner. There’s no evidence that regular self-exams or doctor exams catch these cancers any earlier. Even in advanced cases, the cure rates are high. Regardless of the stage, more than 90% of all newly diagnosed cases of testicular will be cured. If a lump of any size is detected, or things just don’t feel normal, get it checked out by a professional. Self-awareness is still the best way to know something is wrong. For more information about testicular cancer check out the resource here, here, here, and here.


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Condom Use Among Young African American Men

Today’s guest post was written a sex educator who specializes in peer-to-peer pregnancy prevention programs. He understands the cultural nuances that influence the decisions young people make and works to help youth realize their potential. 

Condom use can be a taboo topic, especially within certain cultures and ethnic communities, including the African American community. When you dissect the African American community into subsets (by age, for example) you see trends in attitudes about condom use. According to the Black Aids Institute, young African American men report a 20.5 percent condom usage rate. It’s alarming to consider that 4 out of 5 young black men are not using condoms during sexual intercourse. Lack of condom use among African-American men can be seen as a direct correlation to higher rates of unplanned pregnancies, HIV, and other STI’s within the African American community.


Research done by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation conducted a qualitative study on condom use behaviors among urban African-American men ages 18-24. That research revealed various reasons for non-condom use:

  • Lack of interest in condom use
  • Lack of immediate access to condoms
  • Inconvenience
  • The mood-killing length of time it takes to put on a condom
  • Partner’s disinterest in condom use

The most commonly expressed rationale for not using condoms among the research participants was their general disinterest in using condoms. It is evident that there may be some cultural perceptions among young African-American men that promote the non-use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Education is a critical component to refute many of the misconceptions that this population has in regards to condom use and it may be highly beneficial for Sexual Health Educators to consider the use of peer-to-peer education.

Some of the perceptions of condom use among young African-American men are driven by peer influence. A literature review of peer-to-peer programs done by Advocates for Youth revealed the following results:

  • Improved reproductive and sexual health outcomes, including reduced incidence of pregnancy, births and STIs
  • Reduced sexual risk behaviors, including delayed initiation of sex, increased contraceptive use and condom use, reduced number of new sexual partners as well as increased abstinence among sexually experienced youth, reduced incidence of unprotected sex, reduced frequency of sex, and increased partner communication
  • Increased incidence of testing and sharing test results, including testing for HIV, for STIs, and sharing positive test results with a partner

Lack of condom use among African-American men has far-reaching public health consequences and effective strategies must be implemented to mitigate the cultural behavioral norms that promote non condom use. Peer education appears to be a promising model to educate young African-American men about the benefits of consistent and appropriate condom use.

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Why Young People Should Still See a Gynecologist Before Their First Pap Smear

Nurse Meeting With Teenage Girl And Mother In Hospital

Nurse Meeting With Teenage Girl And Mother In Hospital

Many people now know the new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) do not recommend pap smears until the age of 21. This can be a bit confusing and frustrating for parents and teens that still have sexual and reproductive health care needs and are unsure if they should visit a gynecologist or sexual and reproductive healthcare provider (SRHP) who specializes in this area.

Here are some of the most common reasons young people should go to a SRHP.

STDs – Many young people and their partners need to be tested or treated for STDs. They may also want to talk to their parent/guardian and their medical provider to determine if they should receive the Human Papilloma Vaccine. The Gardasil Vaccine is recommended for boys and girls ages 11 or 12. The vaccine is recommended for people ages 9 to 26. According to Merck pharmaceuticals, the Gardasil vaccine helps protect against 4 types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, 70% of vaginal cancer cases, and up to 50% of vulvar cancer cases. In males and females ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL helps protect against about 80% of anal cancer cases and 90% of genital warts cases.

Vaginal Infections – Infections can occur at any time during our lives and many times have nothing to do with whether we are sexually active (i.e. urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, folliculitis).

Menstruation – Some teens have irregular periods, PMS, painful cramps or heavy bleeding that keeps them home from school or work, acne or other medical conditions like endometriosis or abnormally large ovarian cysts that may require medication, procedures, or an office visit.

Birth Control – A sexual and reproductive health care provider can discuss the benefits and potential side effects of each birth control method and help the patient determine which method is best for them.

Pregnancy – Young people can receive pregnancy tests, options counseling, and preconception health if someone is planning to become pregnant in the future.

Safer Sex – Education can empower people to make safer choices and know their risks if and when they decide to be sexually active.

LGBTQ Health Concerns – Specific information can be given on how to be safer with a partner, medical concerns that impact LGBTQ individuals and referrals to additional resources.

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10 Things You May Not Know About Orgasm

One of the many great aspects of my job is how people in my life send me links to fascinating information on all things sexual. One of my daughters recently connected me to a webcast discussing 10 things you may not know about orgasms. Shortly after that, a coworker sent a link on the related topic of breast orgasms. WOW! How could I resist writing about them both?

According to Mary Roach and her extensive research, here are the 10 things you may not know:

1. Thanks to the use of ultrasound, we can now view what appears to be a fetus masturbating. I know males are often identified by their prominent erections, but who knew they put them to use so long before puberty? Since all the nerve endings needed for sexual pleasure are there at birth, it’s not surprising babies find pleasure in touching their genitals, but even before birth? Yikes!

2. Some people don’t need genital stimulation to reach orgasm. There have been reports of people stimulated to orgasm through stroking of the eyebrows, teeth brushing, music, breast stimulation or pretty much anyplace on the body. Someone claims to be able to THINK herself to orgasm!

3. At least in theory, you can have one when dead. I’m not talking pretending you’re asleep, but actually dead. There is a sacral nerve that when stimulated post-mortem causes a physical reaction called the Lazarus reflex. Apparently, with proper manipulation an orgasm can occur, as well.

4. Orgasm can cause bad breath.

5. Orgasm can cure hiccups.

6. Before Masters and Johnson proved differently in 1950, some medical professionals prescribed orgasm to increase fertility. It was believed the orgasm “sucked up” the sperm into the uterus.

7. Some pig farmers still believe that proper stimulation will increase litter rates by 6% when the sow is aroused before artificial insemination. Here is an actual video of a farmer demonstrating this during the webcast that is something you should watch before attempting this at home. Most educational.

8. Female animals may enjoy themselves more than you think. Most animals don’t show expressions of pain or pleasure on their faces. They are more likely to use body postures or ear placement to express their true feelings.

9. Studying human orgasms is not easy. Just creating an instrument to measure such sensations, let alone finding willing research subjects, is challenging.

10. But apparently, there are always some willing to show it all for science. In 1940 Alfred Kinsey had 300 male subjects ejaculate and marked with tape on the floor the length their semen traveled. The record is 8 feet.

Hope you increased your orgasmic knowledge. I certainly did!

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