Exploring and explaining our anatomy

Dear Sasha,

I was masturbating on the toilet the other day and, when I reached down to get some natural lubrication, I was a little shocked to find that I could feel my cervix was only about an inch or less away from the opening of my vagina.

Is this normal?

Do I have a short vagina? Am I not doing enough Kegels? I'm only 37, and I'm worried that I'll turn inside out before I'm 60.

Sara

Vaginas, vulvas, clitorises, uteri and cervixes come in all shapes and sizes. Kegels won't have any impact on the length of your vagina. They will simply help keep your pubococcygeus muscle strong.

Let's assume that when you sit on the toilet (or any seat that has a wide hole at its centre), your internal organs descend with gravity. So even if you do have a short vagina, it will push your cervix closer to touching range.

What I would suggest is a visit to a gynecologist or any sexual health clinic for an internal examination. They will be able to tell you what's going on in there and maybe even offer you a peek with a mirror yourself.

On the topic of the lady landscape, a book I really like for its pitch-perfect second-wave self-help message and illustrations is A New View Of A Woman's Body, by the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers.

Just passing bi?

Dear Sasha,

I consider myself "sort of" bisexual, in that I've had an encounter with another male that ended up with me giving him a hand job.

I've never seen a male on the street whom I've thought was "hot" or wanted to have sex with, but the imagery of porn -- penis in butthole, penis in mouth -- is almost exclusively what I beat off to.

Aside from the genitalia, I have no aspirations to find a male mate. As a matter of fact, males in the real world hold no attractions for me whatsoever. What the hell is up with me?

B

I spend a lot of time talking to people about their tastes in pornography, and let me tell you, B, it's a rare person who doesn't get off on something he or she has no interest in enacting in real life. Years ago these conversations began with a conspiratorial sheepishness. Now I find most people whose sexuality may not reflect their taste in porn are fairly open about their viewing pleasures. They get it: it's a fantasy. They won't lose their lesbian badge because they like watching boys fuck. I'm not going to have my head shaved and be paraded through the streets because I like watching anal gangbangs.

You, though, have carried your fantasies into the real world. What does this make you? Just another "sort of" bisexual guy who likes giving the occasional hand job in porn theatres. See that guy sitting beside you? He's one, too.

Cool Converge

Things have been pretty awesome lately, but none of the awesomeness comes close to the experience I had on Wednesday, when I got to sit with a group of about 50 teenagers and talk to them openly and compassionately about sex as part of Converge 2010.

Converge started in 2002. As Michael Erickson, lead teacher, organizer and founder, says, "The concept came out of the question, what would an event look like that addressed/explored/acknowledged sexual and gender identity diversity specifically, but not exclusively queer and trans identities, if there were no more homophobic, sexist or transphobic oppression?

"Our goal was to create a gathering of the future, to engage not with the world as it is but as we envision it could be."

The Converge organizing collective has a youth majority, with one or two key adult staff members on board, and all the work for the organizing is done in volunteer time. This year over 400 students attended the event and there were more than 60 presenters and 25-plus high schools represented.

There were loads of workshops (check them out here), and Converge once again confirmed for me how important it is for kids and young adults to get accurate, pleasure-focused sex education. When I asked them what they were learning in school, they talked about how the main message is still, as it has been since time immemorial, don't get pregnant.

Sigh.

We have to teach kids about sex not when and because they're adults, but because they are people and all people deserve wide-ranging information about intimate issues. They deserve to talk about their misgivings, their successes and their failures. They deserve to laugh and cry and talk seriously and, more importantly, have sex treated like a legitimate subject that touches their lives, not some arcane, filthy topic about which they are doled out information steeped in fear and then left to cobble together other facts, often from unreliable, inadequate sources.

When we can talk to young people about sex openly, about our own successes and failures, when we can talk about pleasure as a birthright, then, my friends, and only then, will we be raising healthy and confident people.

When I was done speaking we all hugged it out, and I know that, just like me, many of the kids left feeling respected and loved. It was such a joy to share in their cautious, beautiful curiousity.

For all of you students who asked me for more accurate sex information by and for young people -- and anybody else who needs it -- here it is: 1) ppt.on.ca/pdf/reports/TTSreportfinal.pdf, 2) scarleteen.com and 3) soytoronto.org.

As Erickson says, "If schools can't be the safe and supportive places for difficult conversations, then where exactly do we think they are going to happen? Sometimes we must act as if the world were as we wish it to be or we might find ourselves always stuck in the world as it is. Often the only access youth have to sex and sexuality is through the media, including pornography. The lens of the camera will always omit, reduce and exaggerate. At Converge, it's all real. Youth might finally feel less ugly, less invisible, less stupid and less alone."

Converge needs money to keep doing its amazing work. Please give them some or consider volunteering. Contact Erickson at .

Ask Sasha:

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