Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Problem With ProLube... Or, Do You Even Vagina, Bro?

Okay, folks... Strap yourself in cos we're going on a helluva ride!
This one is a doozy! It's got everything you could hope for in an adventure ride. It's got twists and turns, false claims and weird science. It's got insults and lies and, best of all, MAGIC!!!
(It also has a shit load of links and screenshots so bear with me),

I'm also not the first person to blog about this.
There have been quite a few others as concerned as I am including @EmmelinePeaches and her great blog, @DangerousLilly in her Tumblr, and @cbpolis who uses her blog on this topic to show how and where you can complain.

But now... Let the ride begin!!

By now, if you're a follower of mine on Twitter, you're probably aware of the company "Use to Believe" and their magic wonder lubricant, ProLube. I was alerted to it by a good friend and gorgeous sex worker @NtyNikki and, after having a look at the website and reading it all for myself, I decided to take to the mean streets of Twitter and use my connections within the sex industry world, the sex blogger world and the science world to question, investigate and highlight the very big concerns I have about this product.
But first, if you're not aware... Let me tell you about ProLube...

<insert sarcasm font and put on your tin foil hats>
ProLube is so amazing that you won't even be able to believe how amazing it is unless you use it. It will totally science the hell out of your vag. So much so that one application will have you lubricated all day and, just a mere ten hours after that you'll be way horny and aroused as fuck because our magic lube is also a magic-lady-hornifier. Ooh and it will totally clear up your pimples and that nasty vagina-smelling vagina smell girls have. It will make all your period cramps totally gone - except for the fact that you shouldn't use it during your period - and, most super awesomely and magically of all, it will protect against STIs including HIV (but only if you use a condom.... and, like, if you do get HIV or something while using it then it's totally the condoms fault and you should sue the condom company). And it absolutely, totally, 100% works. Honest! I mean sure, there are no clinical trials or evidence or independent testing or scientific backings or any of that pesky “proof” people like to go on about because that's unnecessary and anyway, for safety reasons we decided not to do any tests. You just have to use it to believe it. But no, I'm not going to tell you what's in it. You're far too dumb to understand how the ingredients will work anyway, and, like, you totally wouldn't believe it anyway. It's like magic.

Seriously. You cannot make this shit up.

Out of all the strange claims and bizarre logic and weird science, one thing this dude has correctly surmised is that I am not a scientist. He's right. I'm not. I have a pretty crap brain for it actually... So, when he finally (after days of being asked by many people) posted this link to the "Science" and told us that it was “too advance” I agreed.

Although, as you can see, he underestimated the folks of Twitter... And also my gorgeous friend who shall henceforth be referred to as Bec the Sweary Science Bitch - @bklistingblog - (seriously, she's awesome. Think SciBabe with a Mauritian tilt and an obsession with Star Trek). Bec is not a nuff brain like me. She is a certified, legit, all powerful sciencer with bachelor degrees in Science, Biomedical Science and Health Science. She is a clinical innovation specialist with a focus on global health and microbiology and is an all round smart cookie who knows her shit when it comes to the science of germs and diseases and how all that shit works.
So I sent it to her.
After she finished laughing and asking me “what the fucking fuck, is this dude actually serious, holy fuck what?” She sent me a tell-me-like-I'm-five summary.

For the TL;DRs – It's bad science. It makes no sense. It's guesses at best, and lies at worst... Oh, and according to a couple of other sciencer Tweeps who read it too, a lot of it also seems to have been stolen from other writers, cut and edited, and then pasted together with perhaps ProLube itself.

For the rest, here are the screenshots of her awesome sciencey summary and notes to the author of it:

But enough of the science for now. We have already established I am not a scieney scientist, but something I am, and something I am very proud of being, is a sex worker. Yeah, it's been a while since I've done a job, but that doesn't matter. In my head and my heart I will always be a sex worker.
I am also a sexpert. I research, write, talk about and educate on sex, sexuality, sexual practices and sex work and one of the things that has really bugged me about this whole crazy ride through Lube Town is this company's hijacking of the Red Umbrella symbol and the incredibly ignorant and condescending marketing towards sex workers.
For those who are unaware, the red umbrella is an international symbol of sex worker solidarity and respect. It is special. It is important. And it is ours.

What this person (or persons... who knows how many whackjobs are involved in this scheme) fails to understand, and refuses to acknowledge, is that sex workers not only don't need this help, they also do not want it. Outside sources (read: people not associated in any way with sex work) who claim to want to help, protect and save sex workers are uniformly rejected and avoided, and often hated, by sex workers. They have no knowledge of our work, what we do, how we do, or why we do it. They have assumptions and guesses based on propaganda and whorephobia and, 99 times out of 100, they get it all dreadfully wrong.
This was evident when Mr ProLube was asked why he was marketing to sex workers. His reply? Basically, because sex workers have lots of sex with random people, they don't know who, or what infections, said random people might have.

Well duh. That's not fucking rocket science. But, the thing is, we already know this, buddy. We aren't fucking idiots.
The fact of the matter is that sex workers have one of the lowest rates of STIs than ANY OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC.
Do you know why this is?
Because sex workers are very fucking aware of the risk associated with the work they do and take many many precautions against this. Sex workers are masters of condoms and masters of STI spotting. They can tell the difference between a milk spot and a genital wart. Between eczema and herpes. They can tell if that crusty shit on a penis is just that the dude hasn't washed properly, or if he has gonorrhoea. They. Know. Their. Shit. They are regularly tested and regularly updating their knowledge on all thing sexual health. Because of this, sex workers are the first people who will jump up and down with damn good authority and tell you there is no way, without any proof, scientific data, clinical trials and independent testing and reviews, that they will believe your lube can prevent HIV and other STIs, or waste their well-earned money buying it to find out.
And what about sex workers in countries and places where the education on STIs and protection may not be as prevalent as it is in Westernised places like Australia and the UK etc? 
Well they are precisely the people who need to be warned against this stuff. These are women (yes I know not all sex workers are women but this is marketed as a female lubricant) who will listen to this woo-science and believe it. These are women who will stick this lube inside them and believe they are safe from disease. These are the women who will die because of this false advertising and irresponsible bullshit.

Something sex workers will also tell you, and everyone else they can get within earshot, is that despite your insistence that it's true, and despite your pretty little web page telling us so, there is absolutely NO CURE FOR HERPES!
Yes, you heard me right, folks. Mr ProLube also has a product that he claims (again without any proof or science backing or trials) will cure herpes.

He says someone he knows used it once and their herpes magically disappeared and they were cured (but for best practices you should apply thrice).

This is impossible. There is no cure for herpes. There just isn't. There are creams and pills and stuff that can help lessen your outbreaks and maybe even prevent you from getting an outbreak at all... But there IS NO CURE. The herpes virus is with you for life. It is highly contagious and completely incurable.
The fact that this company is making these outrageous claims is worse than just irresponsible. It's deadly. I urge every single one of you reading this blog to report them. Not just to Twitter, because although that may disable a platform of theirs it won't actually stop them from selling their nasty magical lie lube, but to the relevant authority in your country. The TGAThe FDA. Even The ACCC or relevant Consumer Affairs board in your country.

Oh, don't you worry, Mr ProLube. That is exactly what I will do. Because this shit is bad. And, quite frankly, I'd like to see it die a horrible death before someone who believes their lies does.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review - The Womanizer

I love new toys! I love new designs! And I absolutely love new toys with new designs that step outside the box...  So... Let's talk about this new product that's been doing the rounds as the Latest-And-Greatest-Most-Unique-Vibrator-Ever-Made-Absolutely-Guaranteed-To-Make-You-Orgasm-Every-Time wonder toy: The Womanizer. 

I've seen the advertising for this toy, I've read the marketing, I've seen the testimonials and the rave reviews. They claim this toy will give you guaranteed orgasms. Not only that, but if you buy it directly from the Womanizer website they offer you a GUARANTEED ORGASM OR YOUR MONEY BACK!! Now I don't need to tell you that's a hell of a claim to make, and one that set my curiosity into overdrive.

The first thing I noticed about this toy was the fact that it doesn't look like any vibrator I've ever come across before. The only way to describe what it looks like is to compare it to those lights doctors use to check your ears, albeit one that Barbie has got to with her Bedazzler and trusty “what chicks like” handbook.
It comes in a variety of pretty colours and patterns, incorporating pinks and blues and leopard print and even Swarovski crystals on one of them. If sparkle and bling are your thing, this toy was made for you.

It has a super sturdy and discreet case to store it in (imagine a heavy duty, zippered sunglasses case), and comes with the handbook, a USB charger and a spare “tip”. 

So just what is so special and unique about this toy? What is it that sets it apart from just about every other clitoral stimulator in the world?
Well that's actually kind of a cool thing. Whereas most vibrators rely on direct stimulation to the clitoris via vibrations, this works differently. This toy works by stimulating the clitoris without even really touching it at all! I know right? What does that even mean??
Well here's the thing, the tip bit that I mentioned comes with a spare, is like a little cap you place over your clitoris, and then, when the toy is on, it works with this sort of gently humming and sucking mechanism that stimulates the nerves and the area around the clitoris and thus brings you to orgasm.

Now I have to say I was sceptical. Like I said at the start, I really like a good strong buzz to get my motor running and simple hand tests with this toy didn't seem to cut the mustard. Like yes, sure, I could feel it sucking on my finger tip and gently buzzing, but it just didn't seem to have the oomph I usually rate so highly. It was also a little bit loud when turned up high and I thought with the gentleness of it and the noise on top of that I would probably get distracted too easily and it would be a fail... But in the name of science I took the plunge and brought it to bed with me.

Let me just say this. I ALWAYS recommend testing the buzz etc of a toy before you buy it because it's important to know just how strong or weak or hard or soft it will be... But in the case of the Womanizer this tip kinda goes out the window. The feeling of it on your clitoris, versus the feeling of it on your fingers, is so different I can't really describe it.
The other thing that surprised me was as soon as you have it over your clitoris and the tip is sealed, you can hardly hear it.
This thing is deceptively strong. But in a totally different way! It's hard to really explain how, but I'll try it with one of my famous analogies. Have you ever had a mozzie bite that you can't itch directly because it kind of hurts, but if you itch around it it feels better? This is kind of like that, without the hurt. It really is kind of remarkable. To every girl who has ever written me a letter asking me how they can get that super buzz feeling without the pressure or direct contact with an over-sensitive clitoris... This is for you. It's gentle enough that it won't cause any stress or pressure to your most sensitive bits, but it works in such a way that the whole area of your clitoris is stimulated and aroused. I was able to bring myself to orgasm every time I used it, and yes, even made myself have a couple of multiples as well. This (multiple orgasms) is something I'm pretty good at doing anyway though, so I'm not going to say it will work as well for everyone.
It has six speed settings, but no rhythms or pulses, and it's so easy to use with a little “on” button and a big jewelled button to push through the speeds. It's also pretty easy to clean too. The silicone tip is removable for easy cleaning and it comes with a spare just in case. The toy itself isn't waterproof so don't run it under water to clean it.

I will say, however, there are a few things I'm not loving about this toy.
Firstly the way it looks. This is just personal and of course everyone is different, but I just think it looks tacky. I'm not into bling or pink or things that look like they came from the Barbie Dreamhouse and this is all those things wrapped up in one. Even the ones that aren't pink have that “girly” look to them and I wonder if it will appeal to anyone over the age of 30.
Secondly I don't like the name. Not only because every time I read it I start singing Britney in my head, but because of the negative connotations around the word “womanizer”. Women are constantly told to avoid players and womanizers. They're bad for us. For our self esteem. For the sisterhood... And so I cringe a little.
The final thing I'm not a big fan off is the fact that once it's in place and sealed and the buzz is going you can't move it. If you do you break the seal and the intensity goes away. I felt a little bit stiff using it for the first few times and I really can't imagine using it as a clitoral stimulator during sex as there would be far too much concentration on keeping it in place and not enough on the actual enjoyment. But again, that's just me.

Overall I really rate this toy. I highly recommend it to women who are curious about sex toys but don't want one that looks and feels too confronting. I know many women find a direct buzz on their clitoris far too much to bear too and this eliminates that completely.It's cute and pretty and actually works, so if you're into cute and pretty, I think you'll love it.

Quite a few people have mentioned the price to me, as it is one of the most expensive toys on the market right now and have asked if I think it's worth it. To that I say, for the right person, yes, for a number of reasons. The main one being the amazing ability it has to stimulate you quite vigorously without being vigorous itself. If you feel like you're too sensitive for direct clit stimulation, but really want to experience the tingling sensations of a good clitoral orgasm, then I definitely would suggest giving this one a go. Yes it's expensive, but I don't think it's a rip-off.

For it's innovation, uniqueness and what I believe could be a revolution in more women learning how to pleasure themselves, I give this toy a 7/10. It loses points for tackiness and not being able to be taken into water.
For the best priced Womanizer's in Australia, you can buy them HERE!

Until next time,

Happy Buzzing, my friends!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

No Blood Please, We're Whorephobic

On the subject of whorephobia and of people refusing to acknowledge, respond or answer to their perpetuation of it (see last blog here), I bring you the Australian Red Cross Blood Donation group.

Blood donation is important. I have had friends who have needed blood donations, family members and acquaintances. According to the Australian Red Cross only one in thirty people donate blood, but one in three people will need blood transfusions in their lifetime.
This is sad. Really sad. Millions of people who need blood are going without because we don't have enough people donating blood.

However, this is not the whole story. It is not the fact that Australians are cruel and lazy and don't give a shit about other people. On the contrary. Almost every single person in my circle of friends (and I have quite a large circle of friends) would donate if they could.
That's the kicker IF they could.

For one reason or another they are unable to. Personally I think a few of these reasons or another are completely shit, discriminatory and outdated. But that's the way it is, and it doesn't look like anything is going to change any time soon.
There are four categories my friends who are unable to donate fall into.
  • Living in England between 1980-1996
  • Having had a tattoo within six months
  • Being a gay man
  • Being a sex worker

If you take the “Am I Eligible to Donate” quiz on the Donate Blood website, The Red Cross asks you a bunch of questions about your history in order to determine if you are eligible or not.
Questions include are you pregnant, do you have low iron, your age group etc … And they also ask a question about “Risky Sexual Behaviour”.
I totally get that question. It's super important and valid. STIs in the bloodstream can be fatal, and the last thing you want to do is expose someone to those sorts of diseases and infections... It is absolutely imperative to sexual health and sexual practices to be safe and protect yourself and the people you are having sex with from infection.

You know who knows this better than any group in the world?
Sex Workers.
People who fuck for cash.
Sorry. I got a bit cross there... But for fuck's sake. This is something that irks me so much it should be shouted from every fricken rooftop of every fricken house.
This is their idea of “Risky Sexual Behaviour”

Now I get that unsafe sex is risky. I get that unsafe sex with multiple partners is risky.
I also get that the stigma against gay men and sex workers being “dirty” is rampant in this whorephobic, homophobic world... BUT... it's old. It's so fucking old and tired it's bullshit and stinks of discrimination. Because according to this you can have as much unsafe sex as you like... Unless the person you've had unsafe sex with has also had unsafe sex with a man who has sex with men.

Sure, if you're the sort of person who goes out every weekend and has unprotected sex with people then I get why you can't donate. That's absolutely risky. But that isn't what they're saying at all.
Nope. It's only if you're gay, or the person you've slept with might be.
In fact, Red Cross, to single out and assume all gay men are like this is what is called “homophobia”. Say it with me, folks, H O M O P H O B I A.
No no, say the Red Cross. We aren't homophobic. Gay men can donate... They... They just can't have sex for a year beforehand.
What about the men in long term monogamous relationships?
What about the men who have casual sex but use protection every time?
What about the fact that AIDS IS NOT A GAY DISEASE?
Nope. Doesn't matter. Red Cross don't want your tainted homo blood. Eew!

Next we come to the whorephobic discrimination against sex workers. Sex work is lumped in with “Risky Sexual Behaviour”. Yes. Risky. Because, you see, money makes it bad. You can go out and fuck a hundred people in a week... But the minute money exchanges hands, well you're probably diseased and icky. They also like to lump in “drug use” in their whorephobia because hookers probably fuck for drugs and drugs are bad m'kay. Conversely, there is no question in there about getting high as fuck on E with your friends and heading off to a nightclub and fucking a bunch of people in the toilets...
Because that's okay. You weren't, you know, paid for it.

This blatant whorephobia comes regardless of reams and reams of facts and statistics that show and prove that among any demographic Australia Wide, Sex Workers are of the lowest percentage of STI carriers in the country.
Here are just some examples of websites, articles, research papers etc that prove just how wrong the Red Cross are in their discrimination:

Several sex worker friends of mine have reached out in recent weeks to ask the Red Cross to please explain this discrimination. On a thread on their Facebook page last week there were a whole bunch of questions being asked.
Why can't I donate if I'm gay?
Why can't I donate if I lived in the UK?
Why are you bowing to Muslim pressure and allowing your biscuits to be Halal?
Why can't I donate if I'm a sex worker.

Interestingly and very tellingly every single comment got a response except the ones asked by sex workers. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Don't believe me? Here is the link to that thread:

They used their tired old homophobic excuses re the gay men. They explained about the risk of mad cow disease within people who had lived in the UK during those years. They even responded to every single bigoted comment regarding their biscuits... But the Sex Workers have nothing. Not a single comment, explanation or excuse.

Sex workers have provided links to back up their statements about the lack of STIs among them and their peers. They have asked articulate, intelligent, well argued questions.. But nothing.
“I would donate but now you're Muslim dogs” gets a reply but “Please explain why you won't allow a group of people with proven safe and healthy blood to donate?”.... Crickets....
I too have reached out to them on Facebook and on Twitter to absolutely no avail. They just will not respond. At all. Zip. Nada. Nothing.
This is absolutely unacceptable.

I call on every sex worker in Australia, every sex work ally, every friend or partner or family member of a sex worker to get on board and start asking the questions that demand answers.
Why, when we are statistically proven to be of lower risk than almost any other Australian group of people in any state or territory, are sex workers not allowed to donate much needed blood to save lives?

I'm not holding my breath for an answer...
(EDIT: How interesting. About twenty minutes AFTER this blog was published the Red Cross decided to reply to ONE of the comments on their Facebook thread. One. They said they had to check because they didn't know the answer... I call BULLSHIT! I call stalling because today their Twitter is blowing up. I say revoke your dumb policy now and stop blowing smoke up our goddamn arses. We usually get paid for that. We ain't letting you get away with it for free)

While we're waiting here's some examples from that thread...

Index Labels

A Girl's Guide To Getting Off acceptance ads adult shop adults advertising advice angry Angry Aussie AngryAussie animals annoying app art Australia Australian People Magazine Australian Red Cross awkward awkwardness bad sex bigotry blood blood donations blow-up dolls bullshit bullying bumping uglies celebrities censorship Channel Ten Chantelle Austin children Chocolate choice CineKink cleaning clitoris. Orgasms. multiple orgasms. sexy. sex shop comedy condoms confusion Cosmo Magazine costumes couples sex toys Craig Thompson deception depression discrimination doing the right thing don't be an idiot Dr Caroline Norma educational embarrassing embarrassment equality erotic erotica Eva exploitation famous fantasy feminism feminist porn Feminist Porn Awards fetish Food frustration fun Fun Factory Fun Toys funny future G-Spot toys G-Vibe G-Vibe 2 gay marriage GLBTI Go The Fuck To Sleep Grand Prix grief hate Herpes. STIs HIV HollyInAlbury Homophobia humor humour hypocrisy I Bet This Turkey Can Get More Likes Than NOM impotence information Je Joue Jimmy Jane jokes kegel kegel balls Kim Kardashian Kyle and Jackie O laugh Lelo Lelo Ida LGBTI LGBTI Youth lies lifeline. loss lube lubricant male sex toys Margaret Court masturbation media Men menstruation messy Mia Freedman misogyny Morgana Muses movies Noni Hazlehurst Nu Nu Sensuelle Point Nu sex toys Nu Vibrators old man opportunity orgasm parents passion patience pelvic floor pelvic floor exercises period sex Permission 4 Pleasure Petra Joy porn pornography presenting ProLube prostitution publishers publishing radio rant rape realism regret religion review sad sadness safe sex satire scam scammers science sex sex education sex positive sex shop sex shops sex sponge sex toy sex toy review sex toys sex work sex workers sex-positive Sex. sex work sexpert sexualisation of minors sexy silence silly skanks skittles Slut shaming smartphone song Sophie Loves Sex sponges stereotypes STI Stigma stripping Swan Swan sex toys tattoos teenagers television tennis The Australian Sex Party The Circle thruster Tim Tams Todd Akin turn offs TV unrealistic unsexy vagina vibrator vibrators video ViolaTurtleDove waiting We-Vibe We-Vibe 4 We-Vibe 4 Plus weird Whorephobia Womanizer women women's health writing your tattoos make you a horrible mother