Enough IS ENOUGH! Women Are Greater Than HIV

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS!  What are we going to do? How much longer are we going to stand by before we take a stand and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Together we are greater than HIV! Let’s start the conversation today. Sister to sister, we can save lives!

Did you know that:

  • Approximately one in four people living with HIV infection in the United States are women
  • Most new HIV infections in women are from heterosexual contact
  • An estimated 88% of women who are living with HIV are diagnosed, but only 32% have the virus under control.
  • Among women, diagnoses of HIV declined by 40 percent in the U.S. from 2005 to 2014. African American women achieved the largest decrease in HIV diagnoses with a 42 percent decline since 2005. However, African American women continue to  be disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for six in 10 diagnoses  among women in 2014. Steady declines in diagnoses among Latino and white women also occurred over the decade.
  • Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment.

With these alarming statistics, it is apparent that although the current prevention messages, programs and interventions are working, there is still work to do!The  miseducation and mis-information that exist, about HIV and AIDS, within our society is distressing. In addition, the unsympathetic and insensitive tone that exist within our society when it comes to HIV and AIDS helps to continue to create an environment where people are suffering in silence. The lack of education and fear breeds judgement and only continues to further stigmatize individuals who are infected and affected by HIV.

Once viewed as an individual problem, HIV is now also being viewed as social, economic and/or structural barrier that women must navigate in order to receive quality services and treatment.  Race and ethnicity, alone, are not risk factors for HIV infection. Policy, poverty, cultural, social and structural influences are associated with higher HIV/AIDS incidence among Black and low income women.  Black and low income women at high risk for HIV often sustain the brunt of racism, gender inequality, culturally and social constructed gender roles, discrimination, poverty, lack of access to health care, lack of transportation, economic inequalities, lack of childcare, lack of stable housing sexual violence, etc.

These social determinants may be influencing factors which can contribute to their decreased ability to reduce their risk for HIV transmission.  Ending the HIV epidemic will require developing interventions that will empower women and their families with the knowledge, skills and tools that will help them get out of poverty, offer economic stability, provide secure stable housing, and secure access to health care.

Suffering in Silence: Who’s in? Who’s out?

In the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic because it was characterized as a gay, white man’s disease, researchers and pharmaceutical companies began research and testing based on their disease manifestation and progression. Black and low income women living with HIV were unaccounted for in prevention efforts, clinical research and treatment efforts; although the rates of infection were continuously increasing.  For example, women living with HIV were excluded from experimental drug testing, clinical research trials and denied financial assistance because eligibility was based on men who were living with HIV.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) definition of AIDS was originally based on the clinical research and data based on the disease progression and manifestation in gay white men; who had been the basis for research. The problem with this definition is that it did not account for the differences in disease transmission, manifestation, progression and/or unique characteristics of HIV specific to women. As a result, policy makers, advocates, physicians and other care providers did not understand nor know how to treat women living with HIV.

The limitations of this definition contributed to HIV- related morbidity in women.

Failure of the CDC and NIH to address and support comprehensive studies for HIV manifestation in women made it extremely difficult for women to get early diagnosis and treatment, prevention education, Social Security Supplemental cash income benefits, access to Medicaid coverage and federally funded HIV initiatives for women. The definitions have become symbolic of systematic neglect of women’s needs and concerns in the HIV/AIDS epidemic: women are still forgotten in research agendas, and lack access to care and early intervention.

Finally, after strong and collective advocacy efforts by community-based organization (CBO), AIDS service organizations (ASO) and HIV advocates and those living with HIV, the CDC and NIH expanded the AIDS definition in 1993 to include language that addressed female specific symptoms, nevertheless many of the HIV policies and programs that were created and implemented still failed to address the unique challenges, social determinants and structural barriers that women faced. As a result of this lack of representation, women continued to suffer in silence and isolation. Among those suffering in silence were HIV positive advocates and trailblazers like  The Women’s Center for Women’s Policy Studies (CWPS), Patricia Nalls (The Women’s Collective), Dázon Dixon Diallo  (Sister Love, Inc.)  and Rae Lewis Thornton.  Together with the assistance of allies such as Bettina Campbell (YOUR Center), Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Barbara  Lee and Debra Fraser-Howze (National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS), who would not back down and kept women’s HIV issues at the fore front; much progress was made. It was because of their tenacity and perseverance, that HIV and women’s concerns were given much consideration.

Now granted we have come a long ways in the field of HIV and AIDS. And yes, people are living longer and managing to live a quality life within the spectrum of the disease, as results of HIV treatments, I can not help but think that we are still missing the mark when it comes to HIV efforts among women. In spite of this progress, the CDC still emphasizes that women, especially Black women continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic.  In order to begin seeing a reduction in the numbers of women becoming infected with HIV and other STIs, we need to begin to rethink how we see HIV. There still needs to be a sense of urgency placed on HIV outreach, education and prevention messages.

We must do a better job of implementing holistic, comprehensive and culturally relevant programs and interventions that address the entire woman, including her environment and her lifestyle. All programs/interventions must incorporate knowledge, skills and tools in all of the Dimensions of Wellness: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and economical. In addition, such programs and interventions should also address institutional, political, social, cultural and economic barriers that women must face in order to access quality health care.

We must come together as women, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins and friends, and begin to take control of our sexual health! We must get informed, get tested, build skills, and change behaviors.  Our lives matter! We must demand more! Advocate for better access to health care! We must love ourselves enough not to settle for someone else’s man! We must support each other and honor sisterhood. We must set a standard from which we will not deviate! We must take back our families and communities! We must break the cycle! It begins with us! It must begin with us! And it begins right here and now! It’s time to RETHINK, RECLAIM, RESTORE!

Fried, Dyed and Laid to the Side: The connection between hair and sexuality

Tags

, , , , ,

India Arie so beautifully belted out the powerful lyrics I am not my hair! However, I have to challenge that notion and push back just a bit. While we are not only our hair, our hair plays a significant role in how we define and express ourselves; including our sexuality! From press and curl, relaxed straight, weaves and wigs to the natural movement women demonstrate creativity, versatility and even curiosity in how we wear our hair.

Women’s hair has long been the topic of conversations among both men and women alike. Women’s sexuality are constantly scrutinized by the hairstyles that we wear. For example, if a girl learns from an early age that long hair is equated with beauty or that a girl with long hair gets more attention, as she gets older she is more likely to wear desire long. If she has short hair, she is less likely to feel beautiful as her counterparts with long hair.

According to research, not only the length of hair but also the colors of hair are linked to sexuality. Check out some of the following stereotypic beliefs: Blondes and redheads have more fun. Women with long flowing locks are considered sexually passionate and romantic. Women with curly hair are perceived as sexually promiscuous. Women who rock jet black hair are thought to be kinky and risqué in the bedroom. Short pixie cuts have lo
ng been linked to lesbianism, bisexuality or asexuality; while natural hair has been associated with sexual aversion, as if women who rock natural hair lack the ability to be attractive and sexual. Really??! How archaic!

While our hair and sexuality are neither tied to nor defined by the above clichéd statements, I will definitely agree that there is a deep-seated innate connection between our sexuality and hair. From an early age, girls are taught how to take care of their hair. From grandma’s kitchen “salon” to the beauty salons, girls and women oftentimes spend hours on a Saturday afternoon getting their coifs fried, dyes and laid to the side and for what? To feel beautiful, to feel attractive, to feel sexy! Additionally, in many ways, this Saturday salon ritual and rites of passage becomes a gathering place of sisterhood where everything from fashion to sexuality is discussed over the shampoo bowl and in the stylist chair.

Getting my hair done was like a ritual. It was like ritual, especially in the black community growing up. My mom or my aunt would press my hair in the kitchen for holidays like Easter or Christmas.” Toya R.

I feel super sexy when I leave the salon! Nobody can tell me anything cause I know I look fly!” Michelle P.

Although my husband loves how sexy I look when I come from the salon, he also know that he might not get any (sex) or if he does it’s from the back…I can’t mess my hair up!” Quiana F.S.

The tie between hair and sexuality is also evident by the amount of dollars that women invest in hair care products. Market research estimated that the business of haircare is a multi billion dollar industry design to help us find our sexy! In 2009, in the documentary comedian Chris Rock entitled Good Hair – whatever that is (inserts side eye), reported that women spend approximately 20% of their income on beauty products such as wigs, weaves, shampoos, conditioners, hair color, etc. Now given that the “natural hair movement” has significantly impacted the hair care market, research reveals that sales of styling products have increased 26.8 percent with anticipated growth by 2020.

It’s no wonder that Sarah Breedlove, who we affectionately have come to know as Madame CJ Walker became one of the first female self-made millionaire in America with her line of beauty and hair products for black women. It’s clear that she definitely understood the power of our hair in helping define ourselves and our sexuality.

When a woman’s hair is styled to perfection, she feels beautiful! She feels sexy! She feels as though she is unstoppable and can take on the world! Check out what several women that I chatted with had to say:

I always get my hair done before I go out, especially somewhere special. Man….I put on my outfit and heels, you can’t tell me anything! I know I look good. I know imma catch one (a man) that night.” Lisa J

Women go through extremely lengths to preserve their style and keep their hair looking good!” Keisha D

How many times have you slept on your hands after you’ve got your hair done? Women, especially in the Black community, will sleep on her hands to maintain that style overnight! Or how many times have you stretched out the neck of a shirt just to keep every strand of hair in place? And don’t think I’m putting on a hat. I’m not trying to mess up my hair.” Shalonda R

The comments above echo the many thoughts and are reflective of the relationship that women have with their hair. Women absolutely love their hair! From our natural coifs to our relaxed strands, from our up fabulous dos to our precious pin curls, from our bold bald to long and straight, from our beautiful braids to our luxurious locs! Did I say WE LOVE OUR HAIR!

Our Sexuality! Magazine Blogger Shanise Ollie states, “Hair is our crown. For a lot of women it is the main component to our style or look. It makes women feel attractive.

Janay T. believes that hair is like an accessory! You can change it up to go with your outfit! I wear mines based on how I’m feeling at the time.

Erika W. says that she loves her natural coifs! It makes her feel fabulous and free!

Our Sexuality Stylist Perry Varner says “a women’s expression of hair reveals the depth of her beauty, her real inner strength and boldness. Not only as it relates to her personal style but how she owns her sexual power as well“.

So the next time you begin to think, I am not my hair, stop for just a moment to embrace the fact that your hair is very much a part of who you are! And whether our hair is fried, dyed or laid to the side, there is definitely a correlation between a woman hair and her sexuality! Both are individualized, beautiful and powerful expressions of a woman! It’s sexy! It’s sassy! It’s you! It’s your crown and Glory! Rock it and your sexuality proudly!

Both my hair and my sexuality are expression my freedom!” Natalie M.

While I agree there is definitely a connection between my sexuality and my hair, society cannot and will not define my hair or my sexuality! I’m in control of them both.” Misteria La’Nay

50 Shades Mainstream

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Long before Christian Grey introduced Anastasia Steele to his shockingly erotic world of kink in 50 Shades of Grey and opened up an otherwise taboo world to mainstream America, many people were already indulging in bondage, discipline/domination, submission and sadomasochism (BDSM) play. According to research:

  • 5-10% of the U.S. engages in SM for sexual pleasure on at least an occasional
    basis.
  • Only 14% of the BDSM community is between 18 and 25. The age group
    between 26 and 40 make up the biggest percentage (47%). Between the ages
    41 and 59 make up approximately 37% of the community.
  • 14% of men and 11% of women have had some sexual experience with
    sadomasochism.

Since the much anticipated release of the movie 50 Shades of Grey, BDSM has crept out from the dark back rooms and dungeons into mainstream America and now women and even men all over the country are talking about it; so much so that even Neil Patrick Harris made reference to BDSM as he hosted the Oscars. How’s that for mainstream?

The script, lights, camera, and action of Hollywood sometimes does us more of a disservice when it comes to love, relationships, and sexuality. When we try to base our lives on what we see on the big screen, we ultimately fail ourselves and our partner(s). Movies are not real life. Real relationships, real love, real sexuality does not work like the moving pictures on the big screen because life involves real people in real situations.

The movie 50 Shades of Grey does more to confuse the masses more so than it did to educate us on some grey areas of sexuality and BDSM. Fifty shades highlights Christian Grey as obnoxious obsessive yet insecure billionaire with stalker-ish and controlling behavior whom we find out later has a history of issues, including “Mrs. Robinson” issues that he has yet to deal with. It is these deep dark demons that somehow becomes the impetus for his erotic fixation on BDSM.

Anna is depicted as a virginal, wide-eyed, inexperienced, lip biting, naive and unsophisticated young woman whose innocent nature and guileless interests peaks her curiosity to know more. Anna is drawn into Christian’s worldly, sophisticated, and mysterious life and “red room.” This insatiable desire unwittingly leads her to succumb to Christians “controlling” ways. In her excitement, Anna willingly consents to experience the essence that is Christian Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey does however capture the physical, biochemical, energetically, social, legal, financial, emotional, and mental dimensions of sexuality. Both Christian and Anna’s characters are seen exploring the struggles, interests, excitement, curiosity, legality, and pushing their boundaries to the edge of their sexuality.

The movie also does a good job of highlighting the unwavering commitment, the work it takes to sustain a relationship and the transforming power of love. Nevertheless, watching this movie or even reading the trilogy, one couldn’t help but to think that those who engage or partake in BDSM behavior must be demented, deranged or have some mental health disorder, when in fact that could not be further from the truth.

Individuals who make the informed decision to partake in BDSM activities are actually quiet “normal;”…whatever that is. In others words individuals who enjoy a little BDSM activities or even “lifestyles” are people that we come in contact with on an everyday basis. The interesting thing about it is that these people may be our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. After all, we really don’t know what others do or enjoy sexually within the confines of their bedroom or out of their bedrooms for that matter.

In essence, in many ways what 50 Shades of Grey has done is further stigmatize an already taboo and misunderstood lifestyle or aspect of sexuality that is a natural expression of sexual pleasure. Fifty Shades of Grey is not meant to be a sex education lesson or an end all to be all lesson in BDSM. It is not meant to be anything more than an entertaining fictitious love story. At the end of the day, the best thing that 50 Shades of Grey did was start the conversation. The movie got people talking about sex by introducing another facet of the natural spectrum of sexuality into mainstream America; which in my mind is absolutely great because it provides an opportunity for education.

Let’s Get Real About Abstinence: 10 Reasons Why Abstinence Messages Fail

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Illustration depicting cutout printed letters arranged to form the word abstinence.

Debates about sex education are nothing new and of course most parents and trusted adults would agree that abstinence is best choice for their child/ren.  Over the past few decades, the federal government has sunk millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence programs and interventions which have yet to be proven effective.  Stopping teen pregnancy, the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among youth takes much more than a pledge, purity ring or a bogus abstinence message that only focuses on delaying sex until marriage.  Now don’t get me wrong, abstinence is a great message and yes we all wish that children were practicing abstinence, however reality and statistics show that’s just not the case. Maybe one of the reasons is that the current abstinence messages are missing the mark! It’s time to get real about abstinence messages and explore the reasons why they continue to fail our children.

  1. The pursuit of pleasure trumps all. We live in a hedonistic society where the pursuit of pleasure supersedes our rationale mind and the desire to orgasm clouds our common sense. Many sex educators promote orgasm without consequence or consent. They brand this sort of pleasure as a necessity for life.  And while these “sexperts” boost the benefits of orgasm, they fail to mention all the intended and unintended repercussions of sexual intercourse.  Focusing only on pleasure presents a very bias viewpoint of sexuality and does not adequately prepare an individual for the aftermath of their sexual decision. The insatiable quest for the gratification received from sexual pleasure tends to weaken the messages of abstinence.
  2. Peer pressure is real.  Peer pressure is a hallmark of the adolescent experience. The desire and pressure to fit in during adolescent years can definitely be overwhelming! No matter how influential you and/or other trusted adults are to children, their friends’ thoughts and opinions will weigh heavily on their decision making, including the decision to have sex. According to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the majority of children in the U.S. ages 13-18 reported that they get a lot of their information about sexuality from their peers. The report also found that one of the biggest reasons that they engage in sexual activity is because they believe that their peers are also having sex.
  3. Society sells sex and sex sells society! The media perpetuates a number of social scripts and conceptual frameworks about sexuality. The television, magazines, movies, and music continue to shape societies thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes regarding sexuality. You cannot turn on the TV without seeing sex everywhere! TV programs such as The Real Housewives, Love & Hip Hop, The Bachelorette are filled with the same old script: images featuring unhealthy relationships, lack of sisterhood, a false sense of self-esteem, and overt sexual undertones, and are famous for promoting “player” status and “using what you’ve got to get what you want.”  
  4. Social media has opened Pandora’s Box! Children have a natural curiosity when it comes to sexuality. The World Wide Web (www), Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and all the other social media sites on the internet have increasingly become the primary source of sexuality education and information. Children are turning to the internet, instead of parents or trusted adults, to answer their questions about sexuality. Unfortunately, the accuracy and reliability of the internet is, at best, questionable. Searching for sex education websites online can result in websites that are inappropriate. “Meta tags,” “keywords,” “crawlers,” etc. which are designed to help users when searching for websites could possibly redirect a user to a porn, adult chat and/or adult sex & swinger websites, versus an educational sex website with material that is appropriate for adolescents’ usage. In addition, these websites portray an unrealistic, pleasure only view of sexuality which can prove to be detrimental to youth’s understanding and perspective of sexuality.
  5. The church sends mixed messages. Often times, the church, of course not all, preaches one thing – refrain from sex until marriage but from the pulpit to the backdoor, from the pastor to the youth usher board individuals are engaging in some form of “sinful” sexual activity. Additionally, focusing specifically on only female congregants i.e. when the young lady gets pregnant she is expected to come before the congregation and acknowledge her sins of fornication, while the male partner does not, sends the message that only the female is to be held accountable for her unacceptable sinful behavior. FYI, bible beating with scriptures, religious guilt-tripping and sin shaming isn’t very helpful either. It only teaches children to lie about, hide and/or be ashamed of and deal with their sexuality in silence It is this type of learned silence that puts children at risk. When we silence them for speaking about sexuality beyond abstinence, we may miss an opportunity to save their life.   
  6. Fear-laden messages don’t work! Showing pictures of sexually transmitted infections or telling children that they’ll go blind if they have sex are fear-based tactics that often times have adverse effects. When messages regarding sexuality are categories as something that is dirty, nasty, and yucky or something only bad people do, we subconsciously send the message that individuals should not embrace their sexuality. Not only that, it teaches intolerance for sexual diversity among the beautiful spectrum of sexuality. As a result, they carry these unhealthy messages into adulthood and into their relationships. And these unhealthy thoughts play out in the form of unhealthy relationships, low self-esteem and self-efficacy, depression and other mental health challenges, domestic violence, substance abuse and so much more! In addition, just in case you did not know, teens are invincible. Because the teen brain is less developed than adults, they lack the biological mechanism to properly determine the possible negative outcomes of a certain action. So often times they live with a false sense of security and take risks because “it’s not going to happen to me”
  7. The desire to have sex is a natural feeling. We are sexual beings from the time we are born until we die. The desire to explore our sexuality is as natural as the desire to eat or sleep. These desires are embedded deep within our subconscious and it begins much earlier in life than puberty. Curiosity surrounding sexuality is a natural part of development beginning with the exploration of the body. As children grow and develop, they may begin to ask questions about their body and budding curiosity as it pertains to sexuality. These curiosities serve as the foundation for developing sexual thoughts, beliefs, feelings, desires, interests, which will determine what sexual behaviors they will most likely engage in. The quickest way to get someone to do it is to tell them they can’t!
  8. Do as I say and not as I do. The family structure has significantly changed over the past couple of decades. Due to a variety a reason, many children are being raised in single parent homes.  Because of the breakdown in family structures, men and women are having multiple kids with multiple people. This sends a message to kids. 1) sex is ok and 2) unprotected sex with multiple individuals is ok. Kids are very perceptive! They notice their parents’ behaviors-good, bad, ugly, etc. And although parents tell their kids don’t have sex, it sends a mixed message. The unspoken messages from adults regarding sexuality are oftentimes more powerful than their spoken messages in shaping children’s perception of sexuality. The behaviors adults model to children can have a significant impact on the choices they make, how they view things and even how they behave or not behave. Parents it’s time to lead by example! If you want to send the message of abstinence, then perhaps you need to do the same and talk the talk and walk the walk.
  9. Penis play equals notches! Boys are socialized from a very early age  to embrace their penis. They are encourage to sow their royal oats and have as much sex as one man can take. This message has been passed down as some sorts of a rite of passage. “Locker room banter”  is suggestive of negative connotations and references to women. In addition society supports a very unhealthy and sometimes misogynistic view of women, relationship and sexuality. All these things combine create an unhealthy framework of male sexuality that promotes promiscuity and shuns abstinence.
  10. Keep your panties up! This old antiquated way of thinking fails just as much now as it did back then with grandma and them. The message of remaining abstinent until marriage only ended with a lot of girls being sent  on “vacation” down south or up north to Big mama’s house for nine months. It also contributes to a lot of shame, secrecy and empty church confessions from a young women scorned. Or it created resentment from kids who grew up only to find that their “big sister” was really their mother. Finally, this out of date mindset, resulted in damaged wombs, infections and emotionally scarred women who received back alley abortions. So while some young ladies did keep their panties up, they just pulled them to the side or perhaps they didn’t wear any at all! 

So, You want a abstinence message that works!

Now, I’m not blaming or shaming anyone here! I’m simply saying that the current abstinence messages are NOT working. Why do I say that? The proof is in the statistics! Teens are still becoming pregnant and infected with HIV and other STIs.  And to be clear, I am not suggesting that we do away with or disregard abstinence messages. I’m simply saying we need to rethink, reframe and replace current message with one that offers an integrated approach that is developmentally appropriate, medically accurately, gender considerate, culturally competent. The message must be clear, concise and consistent and teach knowledge, tools and skills. In addition, effective abstinence programs must including the following:

  • Teaching what it truly means to abstain, including abstain from substances
  • Teaching how to choose abstinence – even after being sexual
  • Teaching that the body is a temple that needs to be protected in order to function properly
  • Teaching how to live spiritual in the flesh
  • Identifying sexual triggers
  • Understanding peer pressure and establishing healthy friendship
  • Setting personal boundaries
  • Defining the characteristics of a healthy relationship
  • Teaching about informed consent
  • Teaching communication skills
  • Teaching critical thinking skills
  • Teaching decision making skills
  • Teaching negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Identifying how morals, values and beliefs influence sexuality
  • Discussing the mental, emotional, social, spiritual, physical, biochemical, energetical, political, institutional, legal, systemic and financial consequences of sexuality

Finally, parents and other trusted adults must continue the abstinence talk.  It is not a onetime discussion. The abstinence talk is an ongoing evolving discussion that changes with the needs of the child.

Yes, I get that you don’t want to teach your child about sexuality because it can be frightening; however, the fact of the matter is that we live in a world where not teaching your child about sexuality can be even more frightening!

At the end of the day, YES, we’d prefer that the first choice for our children is abstinence but that’s not their necessary reality.  Therefore, we must acknowledge that an abstinence only message is not it! We have to create a real abstinence message takes it a step further by preparing them for life by acknowledging the truth that children are indeed having sex!

It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Its Not The Birds And The Bees Front Cover OnlyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dr. TaMara
7 to LIFE by Dr. TaMara
Phone: 702-714-1540
Email: tamara@drtamaragriffin.com

DR. TAMARA’S NEW HIGHLY ANTICIPATED BOOK
It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex!
New Book Teaches Adults How To Talk To Children About Sex

Las Vegas, N.V. (July 28, 2016) – Children are exposed to sexual messages on a daily basis – social media, television, the internet, movies, magazines, music, schools, homes, peers, etc. Sexuality is so common in society that many children think they already know a great deal about it. However, unfortunately much of what is seen in society regarding sexuality shows irresponsible sexual behavior and gives inaccurate information, unhealthy and negative messages regarding sexuality that can potentially put them at risk for unintended pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and other unintended consequences of sexuality. For adults, sexuality is one of the most embarrassing and awkward topics of discussion especially when it comes to educating children. Adults often fear that if they talk about sex with children, they may want to try it. The fact of the matter is that children  are curious about sexuality. Whether you talk with them about it or not, they will get the information from somewhere. So why not get it from you?

Grounded in over 20 years of research, research It’s Not The Birds And The Bees! It’s Sex, is a comprehensive book that will teach you everything you need to know about having “The Talk!” It’s Not The Birds And The Bees! It’s Sex! will help to ease some of the anxieties when talking with children about sexuality, guide you through the process of “The Talk” and answer some of your innermost questions regarding having “The Talk” with children. It’s Not The Birds And The Bees! It’s Sex will also challenge and empower you to rethink the way you think about empowering children to take control of their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors regarding their sexuality! It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex will forever change the way you think about sexuality!

It’s time for a counter-message! Regardless to whether the conversation is awkward or not, these conversations must take place. Despite the uncomfortable feelings, parents and other trusted adults need to rise to the occasion because are in children desperate need of true comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate, medically accurate, inclusive, culturally competent information about sexuality. Your guidance is important! It will help them learn how to make healthier and safer informed decisions about sexuality. It will also help to empower them with knowledge, skills and tools that will increase the quality of their life and can even potentially save their life.” Dr. TaMara.

It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex will be available for purchase from local retailers, amazon.com, BN.com and on Dr. TaMara’s website http://www.drtamaragriffin.com. beginning August 1, 2016. You may also pre-order your autographed copy from Dr. TaMara by visiting www.drtamaragriffin.com.

New Book By Sexologist TaMara Griffin Due Out in August

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.05.31 PM

PRESS RELEASE FOR XBIZ.com
Jul 22, 2016 :

LAS VEGAS — Sexologist, author and radio host Dr. TaMara Griffin has announced the release of her new book, “It’s Not the Birds and the Bees, It’s Sex,” due out in early August.

Griffin is editor-in-chief of Our Sexuality! Magazine and the host of “The Dr. TaMara Radio Show.” Her new book encourages parents to have a sex-positive outlook and offers advice on ways for parents to educate their kids when it comes to sexuality.

It’s time for a counter-message,” Griffin said. “Regardless of whether the conversation is awkward or not, these conversations must take place. Despite the uncomfortable feelings, parents and other trusted adults need to rise to the occasion because children are desperately in need of true, comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate, medically accurate, inclusive, culturally competent information about sexuality. Your guidance is important. It will help them learn how to make healthier and safer, informed decisions about sexuality. It will also help to empower them with knowledge, skills and tools that will increase the quality of their life and can even potentially save their life.

“It’s Not the Birds and the Bees, It’s Sex” will be sold on Amazon.com, BN.com and Griffin’s own website, DrTaMaraGriffin.com.

tamarabookmock-up

Griffin is an active member of the American College of Sexologists International and a national correspondent for the Association of Black Sexologist and Clinicians.

Click here to link to the original article on XBIZ.com

It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex! How to talk to children about sex!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

My new highly anticipated book: It’s Not The Birds And The Bees, It’s Sex! How to talk to children about sex will be available for purchase beginning Aug 5th! Pre-order your autographed copy TODAY! CLICK TO ORDER YOUR COPYIts Not The Birds And The Bees Front Cover Only

5 Things We Need To Stop Telling Girls About Sex

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Mothers, big sisters, aunts, cousins and sometimes other trusted family members are usually the first ones to talk to their younger  family members about sex, which can be a good or bad thing especially depending on just how much they know and understand about sexuality. As sensitive a subject as sex is, loved ones should definitely be the first ones to tell adolescents about it. However, our own conceptual framing, biases and lack of knowledge can also taint impressionable girls’ framing of sexuality and reproductive health. So in the interest of not leading young girls astray, here are a few things we must stop telling them about sex!

1. Good girls don’t have sex!

Abstinence is great and we all wish that our girls were but in reality that’s just not the case.  So why turn a blind eye to the situation? It only adds to the problem.  We need to equip our girls with the truth so they can not only protect themselves but embrace and own their sexuality.

When we categorize sex as something that only bad girls do, we subconsciously send the message that “good” girls should not enjoy sex. The challenge that this creates is that as our “good” girls grow up and become women who get married, and still are harboring the “good girls don’t” stigma. As a result, they are less likely to experience sexual pleasure with their partner; which can ultimately contribute to significant problems in their relationship. In addition, many girls who grow up with this belief may suffer from sexual dysfunction which may have been prevented if they grew up with a healthy view of sexuality.

In addition, this belief reinforces the shame, stigma, guilt, embarrassment and taboo that surround sexuality. The negative consequences of this are that as our girls grow up and become women, they tend to be less likely to have healthy and positive feelings regarding their body and their sexuality.

2. Douching helps keep the vagina clean and healthy.

For years women have been told to douche in order to feel fresher, cleanse their vagina and keep it smell spring time fresh. This belief has been passed down throughout generations and still remains a common practice today. The only reason we are still caught up in the belief that douching is relevant is because the media and companies like Vagisil and Massengill have a product to market and sell. It is their job to make us to believe that the vagina is dirty and nasty and in order to feel good about yourself and your vagina you need to use these products that will help the vagina smell like flowers. Having some vaginal odor and discharge is natural. However, if you notice a very strong or foul odor and/or a funny color discharge, it may be a sign of infection.

In recent year, however, many studies have shown that douching can actually be very harmful to the internal environment of the vagina. Douching can actually have adverse effects on the vagina by washing away healthy bacteria and pushing harmful bacteria further up into the vaginal canal. This can create an imbalance in the internal environment and make it much easier to get an infection

The vagina is actually designed to cleanse itself. Washing the vagina with warm water is enough to keep clean. Using perfumed bath and body products only irritate the sensitive lining of the vagina as well as the inner and outer delicate folds of the vulva; the labia minora and labia majoria. Utilize caution when using a face towel or luffa on the vulva, especially as they dry, because they can carry bacteria that may be harmful to the vulva as well. If you must use a soap, then stick to using a non-scented, alcohol-free soap only on the outside of the vulva area.

3. Cutesy names for the female body parts.

Vajayjay, twat, slit, pussy, beaver, kitty, punany, coota mama, coochie, black box, deep hole, down there, titties, watermelon, twins, boobs, jugs are just a few of the slang names that we use when referring to our body parts. When you stop to think about it, many of these names are not cute at all! They are down right negative and derogatory. They send the wrong message about the female body. Not only that, some of these words are very uncomfortable to hear. When we teach our girls to use cutesy names instead of using the correct terminology for body parts and functions, it takes away the value. When we devalue something, we do not respect it and take care of it. This lack of respect or value of their body places girls risk for sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy because they don’t value their body enough to protect it.

Using slang terms also limits their ability to have an educated and informed conversation with their physician. Many physicians are not culturally competent. They do not understand the vernacular and slang terms that are sometimes used when referring to body parts and functions. This lack of understanding can contribute to receiving the necessary treatment and quality of care. The bottom line is that if the physician cannot understand you, then how can s/he help you.

Finally, because there are as many different slang terms for each body part and sexual behavior as there are letters in the alphabet, it creates a communication barrier for parents. So essentially, you could overhear your daughter having what appears to be an innocent conversation but she really may be talking about sex! However, the unfortunate part about it is that you would not have a clue what she is saying because she is not using the correct terms. In addition, you may have missed the opportunity to intervene and/or provide her with the tools and skills to remain abstinence or negotiate safe sex.

4. Do not touch your body.

It is so important that we teach our girls that it is ok to touch their body, after all it is theirs. They must learn the body parts and functions, they must learn how to properly take care of their body, and they must learn the what is natural and healthy for their body. Teaching our girls not to touch their body only sends the message that their body parts and functions are something that is unnatural and nasty. It perpetuate the stigma and helps to create shame and guilt regarding their body. This negative view on their body will ultimately contribute to unhealthy ideals about sexuality.

In order to fully discover, explore, and embrace their sexuality, girls must become intimately acquainted with their body. It is essential to having power over of their sexuality and that begins by being comfortable enough to explore their body. Additionally it helps lays the foundation for learning to understand, respect and communicate their sexual attitudes, beliefs, needs, wants and concerns, not only to our physicians but their future partners.

Lastly, by teaching girls to love and honor their bodies, it helps to reduce body image issues and self-esteem challenges. Girls and women who love, respect and value their body are less likely to put themselves at risk.

5. Nothing at all about sex.

In a day in age where sex sells everything from diapers to dog food and the media bombards us with oversexualized images of scantily clad women, we can not afford to remain silent about sex. The dangers of not talking to girls about their sexuality is that it does not prepare them for becoming young women. Many adult women have shared horror stories about beginning their menstrual cycle and not having a clue about what was going on or how to take care of themselves. Imagine how terrifying that could be to a girl who has not been educated about her body.

Avoiding conversations about sex does not mean that they are not going to do it. It only means that they are going to sneak and do it. We were created as sexual beings and we will be sexual beings until we die. Sex is a natural part of life. It’s who we are! It encompasses every dimension of our lives. The urge and desire to have sex does not go away. Not properly educating our girls with the knowledge, skills and tools is only creating a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, they will learn the information from somewhere and in most cases what they are learning is not accurate.

When should you start talking to girls about sex….as soon as they start asking questions. Everything should be done in a developmentally appropriate way. Be open and honest. Allow them to ask questions. If you don’t have the answers, find them! Also, please talk to them all aspects of sexuality, not just about the physical aspects of sex. It is important to make sure they understand the emotional, spiritual, social, legal and economic repercussions of having sex. And while education about sex is great, you also need to take it a step further and teach them the skills.  It’s great to say “use a condom” but if you don’t teach them the proper steps to use the condom, where to get the condom and how to negotiate safer sex, then it’s useless.

To all the men, please talk to your daughters! Have a no-holds-barred conversation with her from the male perspective on sex and sexuality. Educate them on the qualities and characteristics that man looks for in a woman that he is serious about.  Take your daughters out on a date! Become the standard of what she should look forward to from a man by demonstrating how a man should respect and treat a woman. Your actions will make the difference in the type of relationships and behaviors that she engages in. And just it might save her life!

While I do understand that having conversations about sex can be very uncomfortable, nevertheless it is critical. If you are uninformed or uncomfortable talking about sex, then seek out the assistance of someone who is professionally qualified to have the conversation.

 

 

**Syndicated Content: Originally written by Dr. TaMara for MadameNoire.**

9 Funny But True Penis Facts

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Sex length

Mr. Penis doesn’t come with a set of instructions, so many people don’t quite know how to use him properly in order to maximize his amazing potential. And sometimes, even his owner doesn’t know exactly how to clearly communicate his needs. To unearth the folklore of this flaccid and erect member of society and to help provide you with some tips to provide it with ultimate pleasure, here are 9 helpful penis facts that will help address some of the common questions, myths, and misconceptions.

Fact 1: It’s A Delicate Organ

Although men often project a tough exterior and act like their penises are akin to baseball bats, the penis is actually a delicate organ comprised of an intricate system of flesh, tissue, blood vessels and nerves. The penis is both a reproductive and excretory organ. It has three main functions: (1) urination; (2) sexual pleasure; (3) reproduction. And while there are many great pretenders and colorful imitators at adult novelty stores, nothing can compare to the real thing.

Fact 2: You Can Fracture A Penis

A penile fracture results from a rupture to the muscular fibers and tissues. This is usually caused by blunt trauma or unnecessary roughness during sexual intercourse or masturbation. A penile fracture is an excruciatingly painful medical emergency that usually requires surgery to repair. Another unfortunate side effect of a penile fracture is that it may result in long-term complications. So the next time you’re ready to ride’em Cowgirl, ease up on the reverse cowgirl, as this position tends to be the notorious nemesis.

Fact 3: Big Feet Does Not Equal Big Penis

The rumor that you can tell the size of a man’s penis by the size of his feet is absolutely not true! There is no scientific data to support this belief. In fact, there is no real way of determining the size of a penis unless you actually take a look. The average flaccid length is approximately 3 to 4 inches and the average erect penis is around 5 to 7 inches long. The flaccid circumference/girth averages 3.5 to 3.9 inches and the erect circumference is around 4.7 inches. So think twice before sizing a man up by the size of his shoes; you just might be in for a big disappointment or perhaps the best surprise of your life!

Fact 4: “Blue Balls” Is A Real Thing

A lot of times men will try to use this excuse to “get some action,” but in some cases he is actually telling the truth. Here are the facts. “Blue balls” results from a prolonged state of sexual arousal. When a man is turned on, blood flows to his penis giving him an erection and causing his testicles to swell. If he doesn’t ejaculate, there is a buildup of pressure through a process called vasocongestion. As the fluid builds up, it causes the tubes at the back of the testicles to stretch, which can cause mild to severe pain in the testicles and/or dull aching in the prostate gland. Usually an orgasm from sex or a good ole hand job will take care of it. And just in case you’re wondering why it’s called blue balls, it’s because the blood has been in the testicles for a while causing them to lose oxygen, thus giving the appearance of a bluish tint.

Fact 5: Size Is Not An Indicator Of Performance

Big things sometimes come in little packages. By and large, no pun intended, penis size is not an indicator of sexual performance or sexual pleasure. The vagina is flexible and can contract or expand to accommodate the size of the penis, and in addition, sexual position, clitoris play and sexual enhancers such as pillows can make up for where the penis may be well endowed or lack in length. Some oral skills and a lot of enthusiasm can make up for size any day.

Fact 6: Penises Love More Than Deep Throat

Pleasuring a penis involves more than deep throat sucking. Although many people believe that deep throating is the only way to suck a penis, there are many other ways to bring it to ejaculation. Try kissing, licking, sucking, and stroking the penis with different oral and hand techniques. Shower it with affection! Do not be afraid to have a love affair with the penis. The more responsive and excited you are, the more likely the penis will rise to the occasion.

Fact 7: Drinking, Drugs, And Penises Don’t Mix

If you’re planning on a BIG (pun intended) night of passionate and intense sex, then cut back or even hold off on drinking and drug use. In the beginning, a man may experience normal desires and sex but this soon changes as the alcohol and drugs begin effect his body. Contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol and smoking does not produce, prolong or enhance sexual performance. It actually has the opposite effect, meaning that it can make it even more difficult for the penis to get or maintain an erection. Substances can also greatly damage blood vessels in the penis. If the blood vessels are damaged, blood flow to the penis will be impaired. In fact, long-term substance use/abuse can contribute to long term sexual dysfunctions – including erectile dysfunction.

Fact 8: All Penises Change Over Time

Change is inevitable! As we age, our bodies age. In the case of the penis, some of the changes that might occur include: color, decreased sensitivity, hair loss and shrinkage. In addition, as men age, testosterone levels will decrease. Testosterone helps support nervous tissue, so when levels start to drop, there will be a decrease in desire and sensitivity, making it more difficult to reach orgasm. Although erectile dysfunction is not inevitable, with each passing decade the statistics indicate that by age 40 nearly 50% of men begin to experience erectile dysfunction. This number increases by 10% with each passing decade. Try not to be discouraged, it’s just part of the process of aging, and there are exercises that can help.

Fact 9: A Ménage A Trois Is A Must

The penis and his two friends, the testicles aka the balls, are always down for a good threesome! Many people tend to shy away from the testicles during sex play. However, there are a lot of men that enjoy a little extra attention on their testicles. Try cupping them, giving them a little tug, licking them or even putting them in your mouth. The next time you want to spice things up or include a little extra pleasure in your sexual repertoire, a rendezvous with the three of them is the perfect place to start. A note of caution: Because the testicles are extremely sensitive, use caution when handling.

In order to provide optimal sexual pleasure and satisfaction to Mr. Penis, you need to keep an open mind, know the facts, consult the owner and make changes as needed!

**Syndicated Content: Originally written by Dr. TaMara for Sexpert.com. Check out other articles by Dr. TaMara on Sexpert.com**

A Review of Live Inspired Feel Empowered by Alexandra Montfort

Tags

, , , , ,

Dr Griffin LIFE Book CoverThe vulnerability that was expressed in the introduction of your book was very much appreciated. Sharing both the negative and positive feelings and events in one’s life to others is such a powerful tool to motivate and inspire. I love how you included your poems to reflect the difficult moments in your life. The emotions expressed in poetry cannot always be felt or understood in formal writing. Your poems give the reader another way to perceive and relate to your experience.

Your introduction did not contain any “fluff”, which is a plus for me. Actually, your book in general did not contain any “fluff”. I feel that sometimes writers unnecessarily explain concepts in a complex way when they are simpler options. L.I.F.E is short and rich in content. I was glad that you addressed the importance for women to follow their intuition and identify the beginnings and endings of a part of their life. It means recognizing that our body has an intelligence and we are connected to Divine Wisdom (God). If something is off in our life, there will be signs one way or another, which was quite clear in your story. How you identified a part of your life by keeping how you chose to sign your poems, can help people realize that they should not confuse their past with the present moment or the person they are today. They should instead learn from it. This was expressed beautifully through sharing your experience.

You break down many concepts in your book, which makes it easy to understand and follow. As a result, you are facilitating the process for someone who is working on their personal growth. I consider your book as a beginner’s guide to self-discovery and personal growth for women. You mentioned and discussed about many basic characteristics, qualities, values and life aspects, which are foundations to empowerment. The fact that you don’t only name them, but took the time to define and suggest ways to cultivate them in one’s own life, makes L.I.F.E quite resourceful. One can always go back to this book in any moment of their life.

What I further noticed that was great is how the reader is reminded in different sections of the book, and in different ways, that change begins with them. The more you are reminded, the more it gets in your head, the more you think about it and the more likely you are to take action. The second time I read the book, I felt that each chapter (from the introduction to chapter 5) was preparing me to understand the value of the activities that were going to be suggested in the chapters ahead.  One can really feel valued by reading your book, because it’s really about self. It’s working from the inside out. One more thing that I was really happy about is the sections in which you described sensuality, sexual confidence and a woman’s body. I say this because these are concepts that are very much misunderstood. You explained them in a manner where regardless of your beliefs or background, you can find ways to empower yourself in those areas.  Overall, you’ve provided great insight and tools to become an empowered woman.

Pick up your copy of Live Inspired Feel Empowered (LIFE), click here