Sasha and Rasheed has been dating for quite a while now but a new girl and a possible STD makes their relationship more complicated in this episode of Cuffing Season.
In April 2016 the Women’s Leadership Project and Young Male Scholars’ in collaboration with Get Smart B4 U Get Sexy facilitated a workshop entitled “Straight Out of Rape Culture”.
Women of color have the highest rates of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex trafficking in the U.S.
Our workshop focused on answering questions like:
- Do media images in music and videos play a role?
- What are common myths and stereotypes about rape and sexual harassment?
- What do you need to know about creating a healthy relationship with your partner?
- And how can men and boys be part of the solution in stopping violence against women of color?
Excerpt from Workshop: Our facilitators ask students to respond to our rape culture survey. Here is a student explaining why she disagrees with the statement: “There are certain types of women that deserve to be sexually harassed”
Valuing ourselves is a key ingredient in any relationship.
When we value ourselves, we believe we deserve respect, kindness and honesty. We must know this when entering a relationship. If we don’t know this when we enter a relationship, it is easy to believe we just got “lucky,” or that we hit the jackpot by finding a person to love us. But that is not the truth, you are valuable with or without a date, partner or boo. And when you do find someone, their love and affection is a response to who You are…not what you can give sexually, financially or emotionally.
We must learn to balance the love we have for ourselves with the love we have for our partners.
By Monica Groves
The media is permeated with images of Black female promiscuity, ass, ass, ass, being objectified by men, and violence.
The overriding message is to devalue black womanhood…and more ass. There are times when Black women in America are lost. There are times when Black women in America don’t know who they are, so how do we redraw the lines and claim our sexuality?
Get to know your body. Self-Exploration is key in getting to know what you like. Society has programmed women to think that sex is for the pleasure of the man, but with self-love and a renewed focus on your pleasure sex can be about both of you.
Openly communicate with your partner. Your partner won’t know what you like if you don’t tell them. To make the experience better for both of you have a conversation about your likes, dislikes, fantasies, and limits, etc.
Know your history. There’s often inaction due to fear. To combat fear, read the story and history of Black women by Black women. In addition, take a look at the images and messages about Black female sexuality that are prevalent today. Having a better understanding of your past and present and differentiating the Black woman’s truth from society’s dominating harmful imagery that is not created by Black women for Black women allows you to clear your mind and be in command of your sexual future for yourself.
Talk to your Doctor. If you have any sexual or reproductive concerns talk to your doctor. Any issues can be treated and your fears squashed by getting answers from a medical professional. They can also help you create the best reproductive health plan for your lifestyle.
Have standards. Don’t go looking for love in all the wrong places. Claiming your sexuality doesn’t mean humping indiscriminately. Be free, but be smart. Know that you are sacred and recognize the power of your vagina.
Either you or your partner is experiencing some odd body changes (bumps, colored discharge, bleeding during sex…) or you had unprotected sex with someone you just weren’t too sure about their status and you are starting to feel a little paranoid. First thing to do is breathe, relax and know that getting tested is your sure way to identify your health status. Breathe again and know that if anything did happen most sexually transmitted infections are curable with antibiotics. After you identify where the closest or farthest health center is from your house or work lets figure out when you had unprotected sex. Why is this important? Tests for different sexually transmitted infections have different window periods of accuracy. Lets take a look at the timeline of efficacy:
- Chlamydia – Accurate tests 14 days after unprotected sex.
- Gonorrhea – Accurate tests 7 days after unprotected sex.
- Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are notorious for showing no symptoms leading them to go under the radar for most people. If there are to be symptoms, look out for burning urination, bleeding after or during sex or bleeding in between periods, greenish discharge.
- HIV – 3 months after unprotected sex the test will be 97% accurate. 6 months after unprotected sex the test will be 100% accurate. Why so long? Most tests are looking for antibodies to HIV and it can take 3 – 6 months for antibodies to start showing up on tests.
- Herpes – If you believe that you might be experiencing a herpes outbreak it is important to be screened as soon as possible before the sores scab over to ensure an accurate viral culture. A culture is when a health provider takes a sample of skin that is infected that will be tested on and looked under a microscope. Sores can be described as being painful, burning sensations. Most people have been exposed to herpes even though you may never have symptoms. Your exposure can be detected through a blood test but this test will never let you know when that exposure may have happened.
- Syphilis – Accurate tests after 10 – 30 days (this is the time frame when generally the first stage of syphilis can happen which are similar to sores but called chancres and can go unnoticed because chancres are generally painless).
At the Health Center
Most tests are done through urine, mouth swab or a quick finger prick for a blood sample.
However, if you are experiencing symptoms it is important to not be shy and speak up since it will help you have more appropriate resources at your disposal. You will likely be screened appropriately based on what you might be experiencing but know that you have patient rights so it is always your right to have a nonjudgmental, culturally appropriate experience at health centers so always advocate for yourself. For women, vaginal smears are looking for both common vaginal infections that aren’t always sexually related and sexually related infections like Trichomoniasis (“Trich”). If you are experiencing symptoms it is important to ask for an exam because then you can be screened for all infections including Trichomoniasis (“Trich”) which isn’t included in general STI testing because a vaginal swab needs to be taken.
Some vaginal symptoms to look out for: itching, burning or irritation in the vagina, yellowish, greenish or gray discharge, thicker than normal discharge, bleeding during/after sex. For males be open about where and for how long you have been experiencing symptoms so that the health care provider can take a look and possibly a culture if needed. The body is a complex machine that we don’t always think about until something strays from the usual. Most sexually transmitted infections do not show symptoms and go undetected for some time so talking to partners and getting tested or deciding to always use barrier methods is crucial. Assessing what risk factors you are open to and not comfortable with is important for maintaining good health while also being able to express this to partners. If you have an intimate partner who you might not be comfortable having that conversation with at all then maybe that can be taken into consideration as to if that person may be worth your time.
Have additional questions? Ask Get Smart Get Sexy.
“Va-gi-NA” whisper it a few times, then say it louder and louder. Eventually you will start feeling the power of the word and the internal power that exists within yourself. It took me a while to say or even acknowledge my vagina. I am currently 27 – still young, always independent and a womanly force – however my confidence and independence may be noticeable to others but internally I haven’t always recognized my power, let alone sexual independence. Although a native to Los Angeles there wasn’t always the Hollywood glamour that shined through my eyes. The lack of images of Black women not only within Hollywood but also the media in general made me feel insignificant growing up. The hypersexual images of Black girls and women confused me as they didn’t help me connect to my thicker than most LA women’s body. I developed a comedic sense to mask some of the pain behind well not being seen. I dated around a lot, if well is that what we are calling friends with benefits now, trying to find myself in the warm embraces of others. Often I saw myself only as a pleasure object to others leaving me disengaged in sex. Through the years as I’ve grown into loving myself, but I definitely have learned some lessons the hard way. I come into a better relationship with my hips, especially in my new position as an assistant casting director for a top movie agency. Now I’m trying to find myself through myself as I juggle, career, love, friends and my family.
So you go on a date with a special someone, you had fun, a lot of fun, so you decided to try again, cause well the first date was great… And while you are enjoying your date you get to the end, and here comes that awkward moment before you kiss, and you realize hum… I like this person, but I don’t like like this person…but he/she clearly like likes you. You want to stay friends, because well, you like hanging out with this person but you want to keep the sexy time stuff out, while keeping the friendship? What a pickle you got yourself in now! However lucky you, follow these steps below, and you will gain your new friend without the homie lover part, or for the matter neither the bitter salty part.
Disclaimer – This only works if you 1) started off dating – if you started off as a friend and then grew into a romantic time and then wanting to return to friendship that is whole other process. and 2) You haven’t had sex with the person in question – sorry folks sex complicates things and can make this process a bit messier. This also requires another process that I can’t promise results. 3) Be sure you want to “friendzone” this person, once you go down this road it’s hard to come back, so be sure you are sure you won’t catch feelings down the way. For the rest of you, here we go!
1) For the first few months, which are vital in this process, you need to re-frame your current relationship into a purely platonic friendship. The first step in this process is to invite your “new friend out” but only to events/outings that are public and are not romantic…and that are in a group setting. Good ideas for this are a group happy hour or a political/social justice event. It is extremely important that you all come and leave separately, in different vehicles or at different times. Do not end up on the train together, or on the same bus, at all cost. Places/activities to avoid: movies, dinner, amusement parks, picnics, outdoor concerts or anything that feels coupley. DO NOT GO OUT WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS WHO ARE ALL COUPLED OFF. This include friends who might not be official couples, but you know there is something going on there, or friends who seem like a couple, and it’s just a matter a time. <– This is a horrible trap, it will mess up the whole re-framing process. This should go one for at least 3 months. I will mention here, which I would hope is common sense, do not, repeat, do not engage in any romantic/mix signal behavior. Which means no kissing, hand holding, extra long hugs, deep looks into his or her eyes, nothing. However be sure that you do invite him/her out to at least once a month, no more than two, to continue the friendship re-education.
2) This is tricky one to pull off correctly without seemingly like a jerk. You want to make sure you keep the lines of communication open, but in a way that doesn’t inadvertently put you in a place to have “deep” conversations or anything to “connect about.” Now this isn’t to say that you’re not to connect on a deeper level with your new friend, however this early in the re-framing of the friendship, could send mix systems.
- Here you need to text maybe once a week, but no more and keep the conversations light.
- Respond to text he/she send but don’t make it a priority…example if you’re at work and he/she text you…wait till you’re off. You don’t want to seem over eager, but still want to keep the communication open.
3) For the untrained eye, this next section might seem passive aggressive, but really it’s the final stage in what I call subtly hint. This is where you engage your new friend in conversations about their love life, but without you. This includes questions and or statements like:
I totally can’t wait to see the person you marry.
You know you and so so ( friend of yours) would make a cute couple
So what type of girls/guys are you dating now.
Use these rules as a loose guide, and you will successfully turn an awkward situation into a new friend.
The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. In addition, the work of De Stijl artists is a major source of reference for this kind of work.
Over the course of a long history, the condom hasn’t changed that much. (Andrew Brookes/Corbis)
“The common analogy is that wearing a condom is like taking a shower with a raincoat on,” Dr. Papa Salif Sow, a senior program officer at the Gates Foundation, tells The New Republic. “A redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling, or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.”
But how do you improve on the good ol’ latex sheath? Well, 812 people sent in ideas, and on Wednesday Bill Gates’ charitable endeavor announced 11 finalists, each of whom were given $100,000 to pursue their quest for a superior condom.
Condom technology has basically stayed the same for at least 500 years; the biggest innovations have been the switch from linen and lamb’s intestine to latex, and the addition of a reservoir tip. There has been tinkering like adding flavoring, colors, stimulating textures, and anti-ejaculation chemicals. But what condom breakthrough could be worth $1 million, the potential payoff from Gates if any of these ideas pan out?
Some of the 11 projects build on previous innovations, and the Gates Foundation may ask two or more finalists to work together on a condom design, says program officer Stephen Ward. “There’s not one magic bullet,” he tells The New York Times. “The idea is making them easier for people to use in the moment, in the dark, whatever situation they’re in.”
Without further ado, here are Bill Gates’ 11 potential condoms of the future:
1. The tenderloin
Boring, actual name: Ultra-Sensitive Reconstituted Collagen Condom
Developer: Mark McGlothlin at Apex Medical Technologies, San Diego
Innovation: McGlothlin decided that the best way to make a condom that feels like a second skin is to reinvent the leather condom, in this case using collagen fibers from bovine tendons. Yes, it’s a cow condom. On the one hand, porking with beef sounds very unappetizing. On the other, says Chris Higgins at Mental Floss, “leftover beef tendons are cheap, and they’re also strong natural materials.”
By embedding very thin fibers from them in a cross-linked pattern, a strong-but-thin organic material is created. Researchers also note that the “micro-rough” quality of collagen is great for heat transfer, which lends itself to a plethora of “hot beef” jokes that we’ll leave to your imagination. [Mental Floss]
2. The shrinking sheath
Boring, actual name: Dynamic, Universal Fit, Low Cost Condom
Developer: Benjamin Strutt at Cambridge Design Partnership, Cambridge, England
Innovation: Strutt has repurposed a “composite anisotropic” material — it is stronger when force is applied to it in certain directions — to create a one-size-fits-all condom “designed to gently tighten during intercourse, enhancing sensation and reliability.” In other words, the condom shrinks onto the penis during sex, making it feel more invisible and reducing the chance of leakage.
3. The handle bar (aka The big easy)
Boring, actual name: Project Rapidom
Developer: Willem van Rensburg at Kimbranox (Pty) Limited, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Innovation: Van Rensburg has already created a stir by creating a condom with applicator handles, and he promises to improve the design with the Gates Foundation money. The idea is that men are more likely to use a condom if they can put it on quickly and correctly, without too much interruption. “In sub-Saharan Africa, sex is basically done with low light and it might be very difficult to see the direction of the condom,” explains Dr. Sow.
Here’s an earlier iteration of van Rensburg’s condom handle in action:
4. The Saran wrap
Boring, actual name: Ultra Sheer “Wrapping” Condom with Superior Strength
Developer: Ron Frezieres at California Family Health Council, Los Angeles
Innovation: If Strutt’s condom shrinks, Frezieres’ is supposed to cling — as in the polyethylene film you use to wrap up and cover your food for refrigeration. Frezieres says he wants a condom that “clings like Saran Wrap rather than squeezes,” and he’s found a prototype in Colombia.
The Colombian version is already sold in eight countries, says The New Republic‘s Andy Isaacson. Frezieres group plans on “perfecting its design, replacing the oil-based lubricant for one that’s silicone-based, and working through the requisite FDA approvals.” The American version of the condom will also borrow a page from van Rensburg and contain tabs to help don the sheath. Unlike van Rensburg’s, the pull tabs are part of the condom, not the packaging. You can see an illustration of Frezieres’ condom in action here.
5. The Model T
Boring, actual name: Engineering a Biologically Inspired Condom
Developer: Patrick Kiser at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Innovation: Kiser proposes to create a new polymer compound similar to lubricated skin, then use the material to mass-produce condoms. “These technologies could improve sensation and the condoms would be readily manufacturable for deployment across the globe,” Kiser says in his pitch.
6. The warm embrace
Boring, actual name: Graphene-Based Polymer Composites For High Heat Transfer, Improved Sensitivity And Drug Delivery
Developer: Lakshminarayanan Ragupathy at HLL Lifecare, Trivandrum, India
Innovation: The big advance in this Indian condom is the use of graphene, a crystalline form of carbon that is super thin, super strong, and very flexible. “It also conducts heat,” the Gates Foundation notes. HLL Lifecare “will mix graphene with currently used condom materials to produce thinner, heat-conducting condoms, and incorporate drugs and compounds to further enhance safety as well as sexual experience.” Hot.
7. Daddy’s little helper
Boring, actual name: Super-Hydrophilic Nanoparticle Condom Coating
Developer: Karen Buch and Ducksoo Kim at Boston University
Innovation: Nanoparticles. Buch and Kim will dress up their condom with “a super-hydrophilic nanoparticle coating” that will add a thin layer of lubrication, helping protect the condom from breakage.
8. The memory stick
Boring, actual name: Ultrathin Adaptable Condoms for Enhanced Sensitivity
Developer: Richard Chartoff at the University of Oregon, Eugene
Innovation: Chartoff proposes developing a strong, ultra-thin, shape-memory material from polyurethane elastic polymers that will activate with warmth. “Think of something similar to shrink wrap that conforms to the shape of an object as it is heated,” says The New Republic‘s Isaacson. “Now think of a penis: During intercourse, body heat would cause molecules in the condom to contract, molding it to the user.” The material would also be about half as thin as latex condoms.
9. The cheating heart
Boring, actual name: The Condom Applicator Pack (CAP)
Developer: Michael Rutner and Russell Burley at House of Petite Pty, in Sydney, Australia
Innovation: Rutner and Burley also tackle the problem of having to put on a condom with your bare hands. Their plan is to create a universal condom applicator that can be used to make sure the prophylactic is put on correctly and without tearing a hole. The condom helper will be conveniently packaged with a condom.
10. The invincible Trojan
Boring, actual name: An Enhanced Condom Using Nanomaterials
Developer: Aravind Vijayaraghavan at the University of Manchester, England
Innovation: Vijayaraghavan and his team are also proposing to create a new material using graphene. Their condom material will be designed with his pleasure in mind, but it will also be durable. Really durable. “Graphene is unbelievably strong (roughly 100 times stronger than steel),” notes Mental Floss‘ Higgins, and this “could lead to a nearly indestructible condom.”
11. The invisible glove
Boring, actual name: Ultra-Sensory Condoms Based on New Superelastomer Technology
Developer: Jimmy Mays at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Innovation: Mays is going for realism, in the form of a highly elastic polymer called superelastomers. That should allow for soft, super thin, and cheap-to-produce condoms. “The goal is to make a condom that has the same texture as human skin — you won’t even know it’s there,”Mays tells The New Republic. He’s been researching this kind of soft, durable plastic for 25 years, and the Gates thing sparked an epiphany. “I’m not a condom guy,” he tells The New Republic, “I’m a polymer chemist, and our material was tailor-made for this purpose.”