Condoms for all – Care and storage

condom storage

It is a big and equal responsibility for each of us to do our bit for safe sex these days. Condoms are an easy and relatively safe option for safe sexual practices in this day and age and have been for quite some time.

If using a condom to absolute perfection, a condom can be 98% accurate in protecting against pregnancy and STIs. That’s if you use them to absolute perfection. Catering for human error lets say the margin is more likely 85%. To achieve absolute perfection you need to do the following;

  • Put the condom on the right way (and if you put it on the wrong way – throw it out and start again)

  • Put the condom on before any foreplay

  • If using extra lubricant don’t use any oil based lubricants as it may cause the condoms to break.

  • Pinch the tip before rolling down the shaft

  • Roll all the way to the base

  • Wait until you have removed the shaft from the body to roll the condom carefully off the penis, keeping the semen inside.

  • If possible, tie the condom before throwing it away.

 

As stated above, everyone can carry condoms, in fact it is highly recommended. The best prevention is preparation and you should never expect a date to be packing; bring your own. This is also good advice in case you have any sensitivities or preferences in condoms.

 

But where to keep them?

 

Most of us immediately think of the movies, or the books or even our own experiences of having a trusty condom stashed in a pocket of our wallet for emergencies or on the go – This is in fact a grave error.

 

Condoms should be kept out in cool dry areas and there is nothing cool about the pockets where wallets are kept. Pockets of clothes, right next to the body conduct a lot of heat, add a mobile to the mix and we are cooking. This heat damages the structural integrity of a condom which in itself will leave it vulnerable to breaking.

 

What else is dangerous about wallets and pockets? Keys, sharp things, pens anything and everything that could poke, prod and dent into your wallet and therefore your condom. Seems like a pretty big risk to put on accidentally leaving a potential hole in a condom that you might be using.

 

Also when was the last time you checked the condom in your wallet? One of the biggest oversights with condoms is that they expire. They do last a long time, but you still need to check the use by date. That use by date is also greatly affected by where they are kept, are they kept in the sun? Somewhere hot? Dry? Always check your dates periodically to ensure that you are getting the best use out of your condoms and staying the safest you can be. If you’ve moved house several times and they aren’t stored correctly you might want to rethink that emergency few that you own

 

So where can you keep them?

 

Glasses Case:

A great alternative to your wallet, throw them in your car, your bag, whether it be your reading, your sunglasses any old case will do.

 

A cigarette case:

Go into a smokemart and buy a steel case for cigarettes. This will perfectly hold a couple of condoms, perfect for those emergencies, they’re sleek and slim, so they will fit into your pants or your clutch while keeping those little shields cool enough and making sure that they don’t get poked or damaged en route to wherever the night leads you.

 

A deck of cards:

A particular favourite of mine. Super elusive, ever seen a friend with a deck of cards in their bag that says they play solitaire by themselves or they’re missing a few cards or say they can’t really play group games in their work bag or uni bag? Chances are they may have removed some of the deck so that they can fit a few condoms in their well concealed deck of many things. Under stated and very clever.

 

Container:

Not necessarily the classiest but sometimes the most practical. Tupperware and small plastic containers can be beautiful and fancy little ways to store the odd condom in bags, handbags or cars on the go.

 

At home, keep them boxed in your underwear drawer, in the bathroom, in the bedside drawer but ensure that you check the dates often and don’t use them past the expiration date. And whatever you do, don’t try putting them in the fridge or the freezer for a cooling effect, we have Lubes for that. By putting them in the freezer, you will dry out the condom which again opens you up to the risk of it breaking it.

 

My pick is definitely the Skyn condom range: the non latex range means that anyone can use them without irritation, and without worrying that someone will say I can’t use a condom because I have a latex allergy- Done solved here I have a non latex one I prepared earlier!

 

Another huge pointer is check in with the nominal width of the condom when buying. Brands and varieties differ. The nominal width can make a difference in desensitizing and the feel, finding the right nominal width will have a big impact on how comfortable the experience is for the wearer. But remember-not too loose, you need it to stay on after all.

 

At your Service

Tiffany

Oh Zone Sales Assistant, Sexual health Advocate and Carrier of Condoms.

V² (Vulvas and Vaginas)

the vulva

An important aspect of everyday living is our health. We see it plastered everywhere. How to lose weight, which new fad diet to adhere to in the new year, the best water to drink, gym routines to follow and new and improved ways to pay attention and take care of our own mental health.

 

But sexual health is important too.

 

And yet it is rarely given as much of the limelight.

 

Sex and sexual health still often holds a stigma around it. It’s dirty. It’s taboo. It’s provocative or of loose morals. But here is the reality; sex is natural. And most people will partake, experiment and enjoy it as part of their everyday lives.

 

Which is one of the reasons awareness of sexual health is so important.

 

So today, let’s talk about Vulvas and Vaginas. How do we keep the Vulva and the Vagina healthy?

 

Here are my 5 tips for a Healthy Vulva and Vagina

 

Keep the Ph Balanced

 

The human body is a fiercely fascinating factory of infinite wisdom and workings. The Vulva and Vagina would you believe is basically self cleaning. It also is home to a host of good bacteria that are PH sensitive. Those bacteria keep your vagina and vulva thriving. This is where you want and need to stay away from scented soaps or bath products, even some of the vaginal marketed products. All you need to clean your vulva is warm water. Anything more than that can wash away the good bacteria that is keeping your vulva safe from nasties outside of your body and leave you open to infection. A very mild soap that is PH neutral, paraben free is safe to use especially after sweat intense activities and sex.

Also-douching-stop! It is not safe to douche your vagina. Again, the bacteria in your vagina is very sensitive and when you douche your vaginal canal you expel all of that bacteria leaving your precious vagina unguarded.

 

When using Lube try and use water based lubricants that are ph neutral, have no parabens or preservatives. Pjur has an outstanding range tailored for women that are just perfect for the vulva and vaginal climate.

 

WHich brings us to flavoured lubricants and sweet treats. We have all read stories or fantasised about the stories involving caramel or whipped cream at one point or another. Perhaps that is just me. Let me let you in on another secret. Sugar is not so great for the vagina or vulva conditions either. It can lead to bacterial infections, or worse, thrush. And nobody has time or patience for that. When selecting sweet treats for playing always select flavoured lubricants that contain high grade artificial sweetener such as sensuva in them. This will ensure that nothing bad will grow down there. Wicked and Jo Lubricants are some of our favourites!

 

Let them breathe.

 

Another important point to be made is that vulvas and vaginas need airflow. Restricting oxygen and airflow stifles the bacteria that we have and you guessed it, they die. We secrete sweat and the conditions down there become not very habitable. This is why leading experts often suggest wearing cotton rich underpants which promote air flow to your nether region, and why even if they aren’t cotton underpants they will often have a little cotton strip sewn into it.

 

The next best thing, other than cotton panties, is being naked. Scientific studies have long proved the benefits for sleeping naked for the body but did you know that it is also very beneficial for your vagina and vulva? Allowing the air to flow to your nether region, helps to regulate temperature, assisting in keeping you cooler as you drift off and stay asleep. The airflow also allows for the prevention of the buildup of bacteria and fungi which prevent infection and balances your PH. The term beauty sleep, is not as far fetched and made up as you may have imagined either. Sleep is when our bodies naturally heal and our cells cycle and repair themselves. The same is said for the vulva and vagina. Without the added piece of underwear stretched tightly against them gives them the unencumbered ability to heal in peace.

 

Use Safe Materials

 

Like ensuring your lubricants are utilising high quality artificial sweeteners over real caramel; making sure other materials you place inside your vagina is also very important. WHen selected toys and condoms pay attention to what they are made of before purchasing and before putting them inside your body.

 

When using vibrators, dongs and toys, try to use non porous, body safe or medical grade materials such as Silicone, stainless steel, surgical steel, glass or approved TPE or TPR. lower grade materials that are not body safe have the potential to break down and off into the body and infect the delicate environment that we have. This not only includes the solid materials but can also include the colour or dyes used in the manufacturing. Check in with our friendly staff to see about the right toys that are safest for your body when visiting our stores.

 

Know your Bits

 

Most of us use the word vulva and vagina interchangeable. Infact, most often we label a woman’s nether region her vagina. So first, a quick anatomy lesson.

 

The Vagina is the canal inside that extends up to the cervix. About 2-2.5cms inside is the G spot. Another 2 cms, when extended and aroused, is the fornix which is a cul de sac shaped pressure plate surrounding the cervix. The Anterior Fornix is better known as the A spot. The Cervix is the ridge shielded within your vagina. To see the cervix, often a speculum is needed and it is suggested that a professional inspect and examine the cervix.

 

The Vulva is the exposed section on the outside of the vagina. At the top is the Pubic mound (mons pubis) which may or may not have pubic hair. Below that is the clitoral head that protects that head of the clitoris. Further down is the urethral opening. The entrance to the Vagina is located underneath this. These are protected by the Inner Lips (labia minora) and Outer lips (labia majora)

 

 

Don’t be afraid to sit down, if you’re feeling adventurous try using a mirror and see if you can find each of the corresponding parts. Feel each part slowly. They should feel for the most part, smooth to the touch. There may be the odd small bump from a hair follicle, pimple or ingrown hair. But make sure to note any bumps and bring them to the attention of a doctor on your next visit.  Maybe you want to get a designer vagina?

 

Testing and Vaccinating

 

Keeping healthy means regular check ups with your doctor or gynecologist. If you are sexually active, the best thing you can do for your vagina and vulva is to get tested regularly. The frequency of how often you get tested for such things as STIs depend on how many sexual partners that you have, how often you have sex, whether you are fluid bonded, what methods of contraception you use and when you were last tested.

 

Many people often don’t like to get tested frequently because of the stigma or the judgment surrounding getting tested frequently. I am here to tell you that if you are made to feel uncomfortable by a physician, leave, seek a second opinion. You are doing the right and responsible thing by being tested. You are in the right. There are many Doctors Surgeries that are pro-sexual testing that will screen you without judgement. Reach out to us if you are having difficulty finding some in the Sydney Area.

 

In 2017 a new system was introduced that replaced the pap smear screening procedures for vagina’s to test for potential cervical cancer. The Cervical Screening Test or CST searches for the presence of HPV and can even detect the very early stages of cells before they have turned cancerous. This medical Advancement allows for testing to occur every 5 years instead of every 2 years.

 

From 2007 a HPV vaccination has been available to young women and men usually between 12 and 13 at school to help prevent HPV and cervical cancer. Other vaccinations such as HepA and HepB are also vital in keeping up to date for your safety and your sexual partners.

 

Vaginas and Vulvas are much like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same and each one is different and unique for their own reasons.  It is a great idea to know your own, know your partners for as much pleasure as health. As I finish I thought I would leave you with a quick word of wisdom on diets and taste. There has long been rumours on things to eat to make a pussy taste better, pineapple, cranberry and other fads. The vulva is only ever going to taste like it is meant to taste, a Vulva. They are not created to taste like flowers or candy or chocolates.

 

That being said, a good and healthy diet can assist in maintaining a better tasting “dessert”. Some sample experiments have been shown that diets rich in fried, high sodium and processed foods will give off a not so nice taste. Whereas diets that are rich in vitamins, fibre, well hydrated and well balanced will make for a much tastier meal (this goes for semen as well.) As a general rule of thumb, if your diet makes your pee or your bowels smell, it’s probably not doing your cum any favours either. Graphic yes. Helpful-very.

 

At your Service,

 

Tiffany,

OhZone Adult Shops Sales Assistant, Educator and Vulva Owner

Education of Sexual Health for Young Gay Men!

Sexual Health Gay

I’ve spoken before on the failures of the current sexual health education system when it comes to the sexual education of young people. The current system is failing young people that identify as straight, let alone individuals that identify as any other sexual orientation or sexuality. The current system is flawed in that it assumes that the people digesting the content are straight. It assumes that they have sexual relations for biological purposes, and it doesn’t mention or acknowledge the idea of sex for pleasure. This quick guide is not meant to replace that information – but it’s created to facilitate the sexual education of young non-heterosexual men.

Consent

Consent is the most important thing to remember when it comes to being intimate and you should get consent before any type of sexual encounter with everyone involved. Yes, that includes group sex and making sure each individual that will be involved understands what’s about to happen. Consent is more than just yes, or no and it’s extremely important to understand that just because they didn’t say no, doesn’t mean consent was given.

STIs

An STI is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed on from one sexual partner to the other through sexual activity and sexual contact. If you’ve had/have an STI, you’re not dirty – contracting an STI is actually extremely common. The important thing is that you get tested regularly so that it may be treated. STI’s can be shared by:
Skin to skin contact
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Oral Sex
Needles
Contact with body fluids such as blood and semen
While many STI’s have visible symptoms, there are a lot of STI’s that don’t have any symptoms and you may not even be aware that you are carrying it. As such, getting tested is a simple and extremely effective way to make sure that you are STI Free.
What kind of sex is there, and how can you do this safely?
STD
Sexually Transmitted Infections

Oral and Penetrative Sex

You should not engage, or have oral sex if you or your partner has cuts, bumps, or sores around their genitals or their mouth. This could be a sign of infection and can increase the risk of transmitting an STI. When it comes to penetrative sex – defined as the insertion of a body part or toy – inside someone’s vagina, anus, or hole it’s important to note that whilst all involved share some risk, typically, the greater risk applies to the person being inserted – known as the bottom. With the introduction of PrEP, a daily pill taken to prevent HIV there has been a marked increase of other STI’s including chlamydia. It’s important to consider the risk – Yes, PrEP will prevent you from contracting HIV, but it will not prevent the transmission of other STI’s and for a complete spectrum of protection a range of preventative measures can be considered which include the use of Prep and the use of a barrier such as a condom.

Male Condoms (Also outside condoms)

Many young men will be surprised to find that there are a range of diferent sized condoms. That’s certainly not something that they discuss at school. So many young men experience their first condom and they’ll find that it might simply fall off, or be so tight that they can’t feel anything. We have other guides here that will tell you how to correctly fit a condom, but suffice to say if it doesn’t fit right – rest assured that they will make a condom for you. On that note – only wear a single condom at a time, and change it with each sexual activity. If you’re wearing it from oral, to insertion and back to oral – you’ll be wanting to change the condom. You can even use condoms over toys! Say for example you’re both into bottoming and you have the perfect dildo – wrap the dildo shaft in a condom, and then before you use it in someone else, change the condom! Simple. It should be noted that in an ideal situation – you’ll want to be cleaning it as well, just in case.
An important thing to note – it doesn’t matter whether your straight, gay, bisexual (or any other sexuality) nor does it matter if you are male, female, transgender (or any other gender) – there is no sexuality or gender that places you more at risk for STI and other infections. It is the activities that you do, and how risky the sexual behaviour is. There is a very big difference betwen giving someone a handjob, to having regular sex with a monogamous sexual partner, to engaging with bareback sex in the park with recently met men. At the end of the day, you are in control of your body and you choose how much risk to place yourself in. The best preventative care that you can take is understanding your self and your body and to make sure that you and your sexual partners are getting tested. But how do you check in with your sexual partners current health status?
You’re hot, you’re horny and you’ve got a dick as hard as a rock – do you realy need to ask them about their tests? Ideally yes. It can be a quick check in before you meet up with them where you say along the lines of – i was tested two weeks and i came back negative for STI’s, when was your last check? If it’s a regular partner and you’d like to check in with them it can be a little trickier to bring up without making it awkward, but you could approach it like this. Hey, i noticed it’s been a while since i was tested – was wondering if you’d like to come down with me and get tested together? This enforces the idea that you are being responsible and allows them to reveal they were recently tested, or that they’d love to go get tested together.

Every person regardless of sexual identity or orientation deserves the best information that they can get and whilst this doesn’t cover everything it certainly gives you the tool set to begin practicing self-care and taking responsibility for your body.