Sex and the Ivy

No Pain, No Gain: The IUD Insertion Process

Filed under: Sex — Elle November 11, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

I finally found myself face-to-face with a foot-long box containing my IUD. Thankfully, the size was misleading. The IUD is actually just 1.5 inches long. Still, that little device was responsible for the most painful experience of my life and I say this as someone who’s gotten five piercings and a tattoo … Unless you’re certain you can withstand a lot of pain, going the all-natural route might lead to a rude cervical awakening. Here are a few things that you can do to avoid my experience…

I spent years taking birth control pills on and off, depending on the state of my sex and love life, but when I met Patrick, I started a long, unbroken streak of pill-popping. Perhaps it was just my particular prescription, but over a year later, my sex drive had waned considerably and intercourse became uncomfortable — even painful. I’m really glad I decided to look into the IUD. It’s been more than a month since I’ve completed the switch, and my body (specifically, my vagina) is beginning to revert to its perky, pre-Pill self. I have to admit that when I decided to go off birth control pills, it was all based on a hunch. I didn’t know for sure why my body was behaving so erratically, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt to reduce the amount of hormones I ingested.

The one downside of the IUD? Putting it in hurts. In my case, it hurt a lot. Don’t let that discourage you, though. I accompanied Kennedy to her IUD appointment the week after mine, and she didn’t even realize when the doctor inserted it. There are also a lot of precautions which you can take to avoid my experience. If you’re considering an IUD, do yourself a favor and read my piece on

Why I Won’t Shut Up About Having HPV

Filed under: Sex — Elle September 17, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

In case you haven’t heard, my pap smear came back abnormal. I’d be surprised, actually, if you haven’t heard considering that I’ve been practically shouting this fact from rooftops. (I first mentioned it on Twitter and later on this blog). Probable cause of the funky stuff going on down there? HPV.

Which means that I have a STI. That’s not so surprising, given that nearly 80 percent of sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point, nor is it cause for concern, since most cases clear up on their own. And yet … when I realized I couldn’t get my IUD last week because of the abnormal pap, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of shame. As if having a STI were something to be ashamed of. “What am I going to tweet?” I wondered in a panic. “What will my followers think?!”

Luckily, I’m not that indoctrinated that I’m ready to slap on a scarlet D for “diseasemonger”. But I’m not naive. I know that there are people who do view STIs as “shameful” (especially when you’re talking about more serious ones), but that’s a viewpoint that makes zero sense to me. No one would ever view leukemia as something to be ashamed of, nor would you blame a smoker for getting lung cancer, so why is there a tendency to blame individuals who have STIs? When it comes to something as common as HPV, everyone who has ever had sex in the world is accountable, meaning that someone had to give it to your partner who gave it to you who very well may have given it to someone else. That doesn’t make any of the above parties bad or irresponsible people. Because there are often no symptoms, not everyone knows whether they’re a HPV carrier. HPV testing is also not common, given that signs of infection are usually found through pap smears and often disappear on their own.

I’m sure I have plenty of followers on Twitter who cringed through my live-tweeting of my last two gynecology appointments (though I haven’t checked to see if my follower count is actually down). To some extent, I’m self-conscious about sharing too much, but I also feel comfortable enough with my body (and its failings) that I don’t mind talking about processes (pap smears, colposcopies, whatever) that are mostly shrouded in mystery. Is this an exercise in demystifying/destigmatizing sexuality? Abso-fucking-lutely, though I’d still be tweeting it even with zero followers. I’m sure some folks would consider all my cervix talk a major “overshare”, but there’s no reason why most discussion about STIs is only in the abstract. Pretty much everyone has HPV, so why can’t we discuss it and other STIs like we (and our friends) are potential carriers?

Where The Hell I’ve Been

Filed under: Blogging, Dating/Relationships, Hooking Up, Men, Sex — Elle December 11, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

I just got done reading old Facebook messages/emails for a fun new project involving my best friend (more on this later). So! I recalled some cool things about my formerly slutty existence. Initially, I thought I stopped updating this damn thing because an ex-lover posted my naked photos to the Internet, but then I remembered that I discovered monogamy shortly after that incident and promptly stopped having sex of the promiscuous variety, thereby eliminating 80 percent of my material.

But apparently, I used to have sex with lots of different people. And since my conquests are so numerous that I inevitably never get around to writing up all of them, I thought I should share some items from a year ago.

In late 2007, I was flirting/going out with six men simultaneously and getting laid by (almost) none of them. I think I only had sex four times last winter. #1 took place on my friend Zac’s 21st birthday after I brought some dude along and we mutually got obliterated at the Kong. Classy. #2 took place in a fraternity house of all places, but it was MIT so I think I can safely say that I’ve managed to avoid becoming a total college cliche. #3 took place post-nudie-pic scandal in Los Angeles with some dude I barely knew, while my girlfriend sat in his living room watching, um, cartoons (I think?) with his friend. AWKWARD. And I met/fucked #4 approximately five days before I went on my first date with Patrick. Little did I know then that it would be my last gasp of promiscuity for many many many months (and counting … yippee).

There might’ve been a fifth guy at some point, but I obviously don’t remember. If you’re him: it’s not that you’re insignificant; you just didn’t leave any traces in my Gmail/Facebook inbox. Sorry, dude.

This list, of course, does not count September or early fall which was a shitshow of recycled ex-hookups. Old lovers get much of the credit for keeping my sex life sustainable (pun alert!) over the years. After my sex-deprived summer in New York, I was determined to get laid as quickly as possible. Former flings are terribly effective solutions. And in general, I went out and went down almost every weekend so my abstinent streak ended pretty immediately.

Junior fall/winter was also the first time I rejoiced in singledom. I usually hated dating and hooking up because I was constantly attaching, detaching, reattaching myself to men. Last year, I was so cynical about the prospect of a long-term relationship that I spent the majority of my non-fucking time making condescending remarks about the guys I was fucking. (To be clear, these were not remarks said to their faces, but rather, to my friends or uh, blog readers.) This says a lot more about me than the guys, and to be fair to my friends, they were becoming increasingly alarmed at my utter pessimism, which I framed then as “realism”. (But even today, post-monogamy, I would still say that I am, for the most part, undateable. Or at least, my blog is understandably a huge red flag for potential suitors. So there you go, I am still a realist.)

Now I am months-deep in a relationship — free doggie included! — and routinely turn down date/sex offers from the boys who used to make my blog/life so interesting. In exchange, I get walks along the Charles, unsolicited career advice, solicited foot massages, and the assurance that I won’t contract herpes even if we forgo condoms. On the downside, this means I can’t throw him out of my dorm room every time we have a fight. Mostly because I live in his apartment and not a dorm room.

I feel like a younger, more Asian version of Jessica Cutler, the sex-blogging D.C. staffer turned housewife. It’s kind of like I spent the last year in a cocoon. I entered as a filthy, whorish caterpillar and now I’ve exited as a butterfly with remarkably domestic tendencies and a desire to mate for life.

In conclusion, this is why I don’t update my sex blog anymore.

To All The Men I Wouldn’t Fuck

Filed under: Men, Sex — Elle May 21, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

(A more accurate title might be, “Sorry I didn’t sleep with you last summer!”)

Anyway, remember that time I was abstinent? Yeah, it happened. April of last year. When I realized the guy I was into at the time was a cheater, compulsive liar, and probably a sociopath. (This was the same guy who later published nude photos of me.) After I compared stories with the OTHER girl he was fucking, I started screening his calls, quit believing in romance, and decided to let my hymen grow out. I was so angry (not heartbroken, not sad, but PISSED OFF) that I was determined to not repeat this mistake. So I took an absolute approach. No sex ’til love, I said. What I really meant was, “No sex until I fucking feel like it again, assholes.”

I moved to New York at the end of May, and my phonebook started filling up with numbers despite minimal effort on my part. It was summer in the City and everyone was feeling frisky. Yet despite feeling pressure from guys in the double digits, I managed to remain unpenetrated (and thus, appear totally game-less in New York magazine) for the first two months of summer. There were hot models and blogworthy exploits and everything, but I kept my legs SHUT. Trust me, temptation was in the air.

Not really.

Had I wanted sex bad, I probably would’ve had it, but I was still completely wary of anything with a dick. So I did what seemed reasonable at the time: I put dicks in my mouth. This was the summer of the grand blowjob. I have never before, nor have I since, given so much head and been so good at it. Seriously, I wish I had transcribed some of the post-orgasm reviews. But despite the fact that I blew so many people that I would need to refer to my Word document of hookups to tell you how many penises I sucked, this slut drew the line at third base. Why? Spite. I didn’t say no to sex and yes to oral because of some misguided notion of what “real sex” constitutes. I was just angry at men and I liked saying no. I liked the power that came with refusal almost as much as I liked the power of being able to clamp down my teeth at whim. Defiance for the sake of defiance has always been how I roll. Couple that with a mad desire for revenge and the result was a stubborn bitch who’d lick your balls but wouldn’t engage in either extreme of kissing or fucking. I drove guys crazy.

Anyway, I didn’t care. I didn’t give a shit about any of the dicks I sucked which is probably why I can barely recall half the men who were attached to said dicks. In the end, I broke my abstinence streak after four months with a former fling. He was someone familiar and safe and good. He was someone I used to really like, who I suppose, in one way or another, reminded me that there are men worth loving and fucking, and even if I hadn’t stumbled on the one I wanted to love yet, there were certainly others — unattached, decent, respectful others — who I could fuck in the meantime.

That being said, this was a guy I probably shouldn’t have slept with (because he once upon a time stomped all over my heart), as evidenced by this entry from my private journal the day after the de-revirgnization:

30 July 2007 @ 02:08 am
had sex last night. first time in four months. cannot really tell my blockmates or they will kill me. the end.

I didn’t tell them until weeks into the school year. Which probably speaks for itself.

So despite the vow on the blog back in April, I didn’t start having sex again because I fell in love. I had it because I felt like it. For whatever reason, the person (an old flame) and the occasion (a boozey birthday bash) felt like the appropriate circumstances under which to bid my short-lived abstinence streak adieu. Frankly, it was really immature in retrospect to react with vengeful abstinence after being deceived by some guy who really won’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. And my weird use of my vagina as some deranged tool of evening up the cosmic forces? Really weird. And deranged. What I did was every bit as fucked up as withholding sex until accumulating a certain number of dates with a guy. Or until getting a ring on my finger. Simply not wanting to have sex is one thing, but downright refusing it across the board on the basis of an ignorant and stubborn adherence to a rule (in this case, a self-made rule) is another. It reduces sex to a bargaining chip. And that’s not what it should be.

In my life, there have been plenty of guys who I fucked on the first date (for example, the one I’m currently involved with). There are some guys I didn’t fuck until the tenth date and only then because I wanted to know if there was reason to stick around for the 11th. And then there are the guys from New York, the ones from the summer of the blowjob. They were the ones I blew but wouldn’t fuck, who got no real explanation beyond “Someone was mean to me and now you have to suffer for it.” Well, this is your explanation M, J, N, B, M, and whoever the hell else there was. I’m sorry I wouldn’t let you stick it in, not even “just the tip.” If I could go back in time, I’d probably accept your valiant effort to make me cum via a series of thrusts. But hey, the likelihood of a time machine being invented is roughly equal to the likelihood of your success at triggering cunt spasms, so let’s just cut our losses and agree that things are what they are. I may have not fucked you, but at least I swallowed.

The Safe Word is “Elephant”

Filed under: Sex — Elle March 29, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

Look, guys. Quit equating aggressive sex with rape. I am used to having my bedroom conduct judged (even though no one is in any position to judge me), but I do not appreciate the implication that I’m encouraging anything but consensual intercourse.

The safe word is “elephant”. If I had wanted him to stop, I would’ve used it.

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