If you've followed my eclectic history of five-day challenges, you probably know that I like to keep my sexy side a little bit on the down-low. It's not that I'm embarrassed or anything — I just tend to think of that stuff as private. But this week, I'm breaking out of my comfort zone to combat the stigma that leaves sex feeling like this weird, mysterious topic we're not supposed to talk about. I hope you're ready to join me on this truly titillating five-day adventure through the world of sexual education. And, by the way, if you're looking for more information on anything from contraception to sexual wellness, definitely check out Planned Parenthood to book an appointment or to get the scoop from experts.
First, I got down to the basics by speaking with Laura Delarato — one of Refinery29's resident sex educators. Laura gave me a full tour of the world of sexual barriers, including condoms and dental dams. She also had some pro tips for the best ways to use lube, and sage advice for making sure sex is safe and pleasurable for everyone involved. Seriously, have gloves ever looked more seductive? Clearly not.
Next, I snuggled up with some friends to get their reactions on the different kinds of birth control they've used. For the record, we're riffing on their personal experiences, so all the feedback here is pretty anecdotal (case in point: you actually can have a hormonal IUD for less than three years — that's just the max amount of time doctors recommend you keep them inserted). Since we're not quite experts yet, we recommend that you read up on IUDs, managing the Pill, and common birth control side-effects to get a fuller idea of the differences and possible difficulties of each kind of contraception. (And, again, Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for clear and accurate information about birth control.) Remember, it's all about figuring out which method works best for you.
Finally, I capped off my week with visits to Babeland — SoHo's favorite sex shop — and Planned Parenthood, where I got a complete overview of reproductive health from an MD. My biggest takeaways? Sex should always be a fun, empowering experience that's practiced with everyone's safety and security in mind. Check out the video above to tag along on all five days of this incredibly eye-opening experience, and comment below with your memories of what learning about sex was like for you.