Category Archives: Relationships

Do’s and Don’ts of Condom Use

It is important to always use a condom when having sex. However, condom usage can be tricky. It is not as simple as simply putting a condom on and being protected from everything. So, here is a list of do’s and don’ts on condom use.

Do Always use a condom

Even if you or your partner are on birth control, that does not protect against STDs. It is important to use a condom because it protects yours and your partner’s genitals from bodily fluids that may carry diseases.

Don’t reuse condoms

Condoms are only good for one use. If you try to reuse one, it will most likely break or spread old bodily fluids. It will also be difficult to put back on.

Do check the expiration date on your condoms

Condoms can expire. When a condom expires, it become weaker and is more likely to break.

Don’t keep condoms in your wallet

Condoms should be kept in cool, dry places. Wallets can become dark and hot, which can weaken the condom and cause it to break.

Do put the condom on before any contact with your partner’s genitals

STDs can be transmitted through other bodily fluids, not just semen. It is possible to catch one even if someone do not ejaculate inside their partner. Be sure you put a condom on before there is any contact between you and your partner’s genitals.

Don’t unroll the condom before you put it on

To put in a condom, you should pinch the tip of the condom while it is still rolled up. Place it on the tip of the penis and unroll it to the base.

Do use water based lubricants

While you can get condoms that are already lubricated, you can also use other lubricants. KY Jelly and most other brands of sexual lubricant are water based and should not hurt latex condoms.

Don’t use oil based products

Don’t use baby oil, coconut oil, cooking oils, or petroleum jelly. These can degrade the latex and weaken the condom.

Do always use a condom

Yes, I already said that. Yes, it is that important. ALWAYS use a condom.

Don’t use more than one condom

Putting on more than one condom will cause friction and make it more likely that the condom will break. This can also happen if you try and use a male condom and a female condom at the same time.

Condom use is very important and will keep you completely safe from STDs and pregnancy if you use them right. Just keep these dos and don’ts in mind to practice safe sex.

The Freedom of Decision: Marriage and Child-Raising are a Choice, Not a Requirement

By: Jillian James

Sociologists are noticing a trend among modern women: they are getting married and having children at lower rates than ever before. Why? Why are women choosing to delay or forgo the experiences of marriage and childbirth, the two things that used to be so commonplace that it seemed like a requirement for women?

Part of it stems from the fact that marriage used to be something that was tied to economics and, for most women, was the only way that they could provide for themselves. Up until very recently in history women haven’t had very many opportunities to attend college, make their own incomes, and forge their own futures. They had to depend on marriage and their spouse to provide for them. The patriarchal structure of society meant that women had to get married at a young age or risk falling into financial despair or becoming dependent on their parents.

Now in modern society, women are finally being given choices. Marriage and child rearing are absolutely wonderful life paths, but they are no longer their only life paths.

Both men and women are now focused on carving lives for themselves and finding their own personal fulfillment before marrying. The emphasis is now on cultivating a relationship with a person and searching for a partner that you truly connect with. Taking the time to grow with your partner before marriage could potentially lead to less divorce and stronger relationships.

Women are also choosing to forgo marriage entirely, focusing on other facets of their lives. They may focus on careers or their own personal well being and fulfillment, or enter domestic partnerships. Many women who don’t marry are still in satisfying and enriching relationships with their partners.

Many women are also choosing not to have children or to delay childbirth until later in life. This could be because women are taking the time to pursue their own personal passions, like traveling, or are waiting until they are sure that they are financially stable and have achieved their own personal goals before having children.

In the end, choosing whether or not to get married or have a child is a personal choice, a choice that every individual woman should make for herself. A woman should always be the one who makes the choice to marry and have children, because then she will be happy and fulfilled with her life and relationships. In modern society, women have the freedom and the power to create their own lives, and that is a remarkable thing.

 

 

A Path Towards Violent Free Sex

By Nicole Mclaren

The term sexual violence refers to sexual activity that occurs without freely given consent. The definition includes a variety of different experiences even sexual harassment even without contact. Sexual violence is still a significant problem in the U.S. According the the Center for Disease Control 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men reported being raped at some point in their life. Over 35% of the women who were raped, were raped between the ages of 18-24. While women are more at risk than men, transgender folks are at even higher risk for being victims of sexual violence. It is important to remember that sexual violence does not impact everyone in the same way and other social identities and situations can influence one’s vulnerability and access to help after the violent act.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) tells us that there are ways that you can prevent being sexually assaulted like not posting your location on social media, staying alert and knowing your resources. There are also ways to help others if you are a witness to the assault. You can create a distraction, ask directly, enlist others in the situation, or call the authorities. It is important that we know our role in preventing and dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

If you know someone who is a survivor of sexual assault the first thing that you should remember to do is to listen to them and refrain from judging them or the situation. It is important that you encourage them to seek medical attention and mental health support. RAINN offers a hotline for victims of sexual violence. 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org

https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/SV-DataSheet-a.pdf

https://www.rainn.org/articles/help-someone-you-care-about

Marriage before the Age of Consent

By: Nicole Mclaren

Childhood marriage is something that usually we do not think of happening in the U.S. but the definition of a childhood marriage is any marriage in which the parties are under 18. In almost every state this is legal but the requirements to get the marriage certificate changes between states.
The national average is about 5 out of 1000 underage people are married. The two states that have the highest average are Texas and West Virginia both averaging around 7 out of 1000 15-17 year olds being married. Still other states have outdated laws that allow 12 year old girls and 14 year old boys to marry with parental consent. in 2014 there were over 57,000 15-17 year olds married in the US, 55% of them were women.


According to Human Rights Watch, one out of four girls in the world will marry before the age of 18. There are over 7 million women and over 1 million men in the world who are in a childhood marriage. The over representation of girls in childhood marriages in the US and around the world is alarming. It is because of the rights of women and girls being an afterthought in cultures across the globe. Childhood marriage is an outdated system and we should be working to address it in the US and around the world.
Currently there is a bill being proposed in the New York state legislature that seeks to end child marriage by changing the age of marriage from 14 to 17. In the first decade of the 21st century over 3000 children were married in New York. Human Rights Watch has started an email to legislators in the state to push them to pass this bill. The organizations and politicians that support this bill are seeking to help protect the rights of these children, mostly girls married to adult men. Click the link to put your voice in!

 

https://www.hrw.org/EndChildMarriage

The Do’s and Don’ts of Consent

By: Jillian James

 

Do- Always remember that your ‘yes’ can turn into a ‘no’

At anytime, you can change your mind. Just because you consented previously does not mean that you must follow through if something starts to feel wrong. Also, just because you consented to a person once doesn’t mean that you must consent to them again.

 

Don’t- Blame yourself if you are the victim of a sexual assault.

If you are assaulted, never put the blame on yourself. What happened was not your fault. Seek immediate help by calling the National Rape Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE, which can direct you to a local Rape Crisis Center in your area. Rape Crisis Center services are usually free or at a low cost and they can provide counseling, therapy, support groups, case management, legal advocacy and/or medical advocacy.

Do- Keep an eye out for your friends at parties and social events.

Unfortunately we must practice caution when going out to parties and other social events. When alcohol is involved people are more likely to take risks or have unlikely behavior. If a friend is going home with someone, make sure that they are willing and able to give consent.

 

Don’t (EVER)- Slut-shame or say “They were asking for it.”

Lets make one thing clear: no one ever asks for sexual assault. Even if they are wearing a short skirt or a revealing top. What a person is wearing or how much skin they are revealing should never be an indication of whether or not they deserved to be assaulted.

 

Do- Communicate.

If something doesn’t feel right or you change your mind, it is your right to communicate that to your partner. Say “no” and use clear verbal language. Its your right to speak up if things are going further than you would like or you begin to feel uneasy.

 

Do- Have open discussions with your partner and friends about consent

It’s very important to spread the message of consent and communicate exactly what it means: an exact and clear “yes” response to sexual activity. Have discussions with your partner and friends about what consent means and why it’s so important in order to have healthy, happy relationships.

Feminism is for Everyone: How the Patriarchy Hurts Men Too

By: Jillian James

 

Recently millions of women gathered all across the world to advocate for feminism and their rights. The faces of women of all races and backgrounds were on TV screens all across the country as they raised their voices and spoke out, sending a message to the nation.

However, it is important to remember that women’s rights are human rights. While women are the face of feminism, a patriarchal, hyper-masculine society actually hurts both women and men for multiple reasons.

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BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE CONTAIN MULTITUDES

Every single human being, regardless of sex or gender, feels a wide variety of emotions. Societies that perceive men as being weak or devalued because of their expressions of emotion are creating unhealthy environments and are actually emotionally stunting. Sayings like “boys don’t cry” and “be a man” are toxic. In order to have emotional well-being, every person should feel safe and secure in expressing their emotions, and societies and cultures should applaud and encourage emotional expression instead of making it be perceived as a sign of weakness.

RELATIONSHIPS 101: COMMUNICATION IS KEY

In order to be in a healthy and happy relationship, partners must be willing to communicate and be emotionally honest. This can be a struggle in heterosexual relationships because hyper-masculinity can put up emotional walls. If a society puts little to no value on a man’s ability to be emotionally honest and vulnerable then he will struggle to feel comfortable communicating in an intimate relationship.

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WOMEN’S HEALTH: MEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT TOO

Men in heterosexual relationships should feel comfortable asking women questions about their health, and women should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it with their partner. Being able to have open discussions about periods, birth control, and other topics in a relationship is incredibly important. Having both partners be well-educated and informed on women’s health can make you both feel more comfortable and confident in a relationship.

Living in a patriarchal society is limiting for both genders. There are actions that can be taken in order to actively fight the patriarchy in society. Don’t be afraid to call out anti-feminist or hyper-masculine behavior. Try to educate the men in your life about women’s issues and women’s health and encourage them to express their emotions. Taking steps to de-normalize toxic masculinity will help create a healthier society as a whole. A society that has gender equality is an overall happier place because the boundaries of gender expectations and ideals are gone, and instead people can live their lives freely and become their truest selves.

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Skipping Thanksgiving

PeanutsThanksgivingThanksgiving is my absolute, favorite holiday. It’s not about the mashed potatoes and turkey, though that in itself is something to celebrate. However, now it seems to be a shopping day squeezed in between Halloween and Christmas? The day after Halloween, stores near me were gearing up for Christmas with Christmas lights and early Black Friday sales. My oldest daughter has chosen the Saturday after Thanksgiving to tie the knot with her longtime partner. She tells everyone her wedding day is just a huge, expensive Thanksgiving. This is why her mama is freaking out over the tiniest of details. While she sits back and plans which stores have the best sales.

So, we decided this year to not have our traditional Thanksgiving, and cave to the shopping mania of the Black Friday Eve sales. My three daughters have convinced me that we are STILL having Thanksgiving on Saturday!

My sixteen year old daughter lamented the fact of the skip over holiday to her boyfriend. He asked, “Why is Thanksgiving your favorite holiday?” I got on my soap box, and my daughter rolled her eyes… Thanksgiving is about family and traditions like football and my Aunt Wanda’s peas with toasted almonds. It’s about learning to play 500 rummy with all of your elder aunts, even if you never wanted to learn, and running wild with your pack of cousins that you wish lived with you because they are so much fun!

As I have grown older and started my own family, I have tried to keep these traditions of fun and excitement. My mother passed last year, and no holiday will ever be the same. Especially, this one. I am officially one of the grownups at Thanksgiving, even though I have been cooking the turkey and stuffing for years. But alas, I am taking this year off. (However, I will be making peas with toasted almonds.) There won’t be a kids table with fun crafts and crayons to keep the little ones busy, there won’t be cut out leaves to write down what we are thankful for, there won’t be my mother asking if I washed the turkey before I put it in the oven. My daughters have convinced me that new traditions will be just as much fun. However, we do still have to read ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey. Funny Thanksgiving story!

We have decided that a ‘light’ meal prior to putting our walking shoes on and joining the shopping frenzy with their aunts and cousins at 6 PM ‘Black Friday Eve’ will be a great new tradition. (They giggle that this is their way of ushering me into the 21st Century! I have to admit that I have been scoping out the websites and pre-sale events.)

So, for those of you who think that I have caved and have forgotten Thanksgiving – remember, Thanksgiving is about family and fun, at least for me. Any day that I can spend with my family is a day great Thanksgiving. The males in our family are excited to stay home and watch football in peace. Although, we still have to make time for everyone to play 500 Rummy! (To great sighs from the younger members of my family and extended family.)

Happy Thanksgiving to old traditions and to new traditions! AND Welcome, Black Friday Eve!

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#ThxBirthControl

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, PlannedParenthood.org 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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Forced Marriages in the U.S?

forced marriages

Symptoms and indicators of forced marriage. Image credit to the Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board.

A recent New York Times article states that in the United states thousands of children under 18 are legally being married, often against their will. Most are girls and most are married to older men, often with the approval of local judges. In one case, a 10 year old boy was legally wed.

How can this be? The minimum marriage age in most states is 18, but every state allows exceptions to be made with parental consent or judicial intervention. Most states allow children 16 or 17 to marry if their parents sign a license application. As long as a parent signs, there is no further investigation into how the teen feels. How much coercion is involved is never explored even if the child is visibly upset. Laws vary by state, but many states fail to specify a minimum age.

Most people are aware that forced or teen marriages are common in other countries. What many don’t realize is that when families immigrate to the US, their customs follow. Parents around the world justify their decision for many reasons but generally 5 categories emerge.

1. Preventing “Unsuitable” Relationships and Strengthening Family Links
In many cultures, marriage is seen not as a union of 2 people but of families. Parents feel their primary duty as a parent is to arrange the marriage of their children. Many parents are unwilling to trust this critical decision to their children.

2. Controlling Sexuality and Protecting “Family Honor”
Fear of promiscuity, homosexuality and extramarital pregnancy are behind many forced marriages. The honor of the family and how they are viewed within their community are critically important in many traditional families. Some girls are even forced to marry their rapists to avoid the perception of dishonor.

3. Ensuring Care for Children with Special Needs
Some parents view marriage as a way of providing services they cannot afford for their child or having someone to care for them after they are gone.

4. Alleviating Poverty and Facilitating Migration
Extreme poverty and the burden of immigrant families to provide for large extended families cause people to arrange for daughters to be sold as property or as a vehicle to help with immigration for other family members.

5. Protecting Perceived Religious Ideals
Forced marriages have been documented in the US within many faiths, including fundamental and orthodox religions. Some teens are given little control over their lives, forced to submit to strict parental rules and are easily manipulated into forced marriages. Threatened with violence or being ostracized from the family, teens do as they are told.

More information is available here and Unchained at Last, a support group for people forced into marriage against their will.

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Fun Friday: Exiting the Friendzone

If you’re an avid reader of The Feronia Project you know that we dig the Vlogbrothers. If you’re in the “friendzone,” here’s a little tutorial from Hank on how to get out. Happy Friday!

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