Sexual health educator, blogger and media commentator. Social activist, rabble rouser and wicked dancer.
Lyba Spring has been a sexual health educator for 33 years, 30 of which she spent at Toronto Public Health. Currently, she speaks at conferences, gives workshops, writes educational materials, blogs and is frequently called on for media interviews on diverse sexual health issues. Lyba also plays in two percussion bands and is an avid - and wicked - dancer.
At a recent meeting of the Sexual Health Network of Ontario, health care providers came together to examine and extol the virtues of the Intra Uterine Device (IUD). I have always been a proponent of this method of birth control, especially for women looking for an alternative to hormonal methods.
In April of this year, I attended the Toronto International Porn Festival. I spent a few hours watching films -- and clips of films -- curated from the last ten years of feminist pornography. I am not a consumer, but I figured any sex educator worth her salt should dip in every now and again. I'm glad I did: There was fun; there was joy; and consent was the order of the day.
I was contacted by a journalist at CBC about Mensez Feminine lipstick I thought the product was a (bad) joke. This guy wants women to glue their labia shut so they can let out their blood when they pee out their urine.
Recently over coffee, a friend complained that none of her friends seemed to want to talk about their sex lives any more. Bear in mind, we are both hovering around 70. You might be thinking, "Of course your peers don't want to talk about their non-existent sex lives." And you would be wrong.
Many workers in nail salons have heard stories about friends who had trouble getting pregnant or who had multiple miscarriages. Ideally, nail salon technicians should be able to plan their pregnancies for times when they are not working. But one of the reasons they work in these risky entry level jobs is because they have to.
Many first grade children will finish the school year with no dictionary words for their genitals; and some fourth grade girls will start bleeding from a place in their body for which they either have no name, a family name or, if they are lucky, a dictionary word.
Any sexual relationship, be it a one-time hook-up or longer term, requires clear communication. Consent -- ongoing, affirmative consent about the sexual activities that will occur should be established; and the level of safety with which both people are comfortable should be negotiated. Should.
Despite our best efforts as sex educators, although we have been teaching specifics about female fertility for decades, it still seems to remains a mystery -- not only to those who want to plan a pregnancy -- but also to those who are trying to use their knowledge of fertility as a method of contraception.
Let's teach young people about emotional and sexual intimacy, so that when they are ready to engage in more sophisticated sexual activity, they are able to be present, find connection, take risks, experience erotic intimacy, communicate their desires, explore and be authentic.
There are plenty of articles about sex and aging. For women, the advice seems to boil down to "use lube"; and for men, "consider Viagra." But erectile dysfunction is not inevitable; neither are dryness and vaginal atrophy. Lest one might think distress is lower in this age category because we have given up on sex, some of us who are 65 and older are having regular and satisfying sexual activity with no need for aids of any kind.
When my sister got breast cancer, I let my family doctor know. She had previously been on board with my choice to use thermography as my breast screening tool, but was no longer, so I started having mammograms. We know that mammography is not only an imperfect tool, but carries its own risks.
Whether it's a one-time thing or a long-term committed relationship, there are three prerequisites to any sexual activity: consent, safety and pleasure. There is no way around it: communication is key. For some people, this feels entirely natural; for others, they'd rather visit the dentist.
There is an association between low BMI and loss of libido, sexual anxiety and sexual relationships. These findings are consistent with the explanation that low body weight impairs the physiological functioning of sexual organs.
A wonderful piece of research asked an eclectic group of participants about the qualities of great sex. I had jotted down the list of the common themes that emerged, tucked it away and then forgotten where I'd seen it. You may want to compare my take on these themes with the original research.
The importance of the distinction becomes clear when we look at the statistics. According to the lead researcher of a recently published article on this issue, over the past 10 years, chlamydia and gonorrhea rates in Canadians rose by 72 and 53 per cent, respectively, especially for chlamydia.
Everyone knows someone who has tried online dating. Was it fabulous for them? Perhaps from the outside looking in. From inside, it can be rather dingy and depressing. Speaking personally, there may be other 65+ women who are having a blast. Not me.