Condom Innovation! The FC2!!!

The FC2!

Did you know that there is more than just one type of condom? I’m not talking about brands, sizes, colors, or flavors. I am talking about a condom called the FC2! This is not worn on the penis like the condoms most people have heard about or used; the FC2 is inserted into the vagina or the anus. But before I go any further, I must add that the FDA has not approved the FC2 for anal use. However, here in SF, our city health department has embraced and advocated FC2 use for anal sex (we do live in the coolest city, don’t we?).

Some of you may have heard of a female condom, but this is a little different (and I am super excited to tell you why!). Although the FC2 is made by the same company as the original female condom, they have made some improvements. Also, many of us in the health profession don’t like to call it the female condom anymore (we would change the name if we could) because it is also used for anal sex (which means a female doesn’t necessarily need to be involved).

Some benefits to FC2 that you may not know:

  1. The FC2 is made out of synthetic nitrile which means several things; it can be used by everyone – even those with a latex allergy; it doesn’t make the crinkling noise that the original female condoms did during use (that was a major no bueno thanks FC2 for fixing that); and the material clings to the inside vaginal/anal walls and allows for a better heat transfer which totally decreases the feeling that you’re even using a condom at all!
  2. It can be inserted up to 6 hours before use! That means you can be way more spontaneous with sex!
  3. Because it hangs outside the vagina/anus, it provides more protection against herpes and genital warts than male condoms.
  4. The outer ring provides some extra clitoral stimulation! Don’t remember the awesomeness that is the clitoris? Check out a previous blog post about female anatomy.
  5. The FC2 does not have to be removed immediately after sex like male condoms. Male condoms have the problem of being too loose on the penis after a guy loses his erection making it very likely to slip off and spilling all it was trying to contain. This is great news for people who enjoy the increased intimacy of staying in their partner for just a little longer after climax.
  6. And finally, many penis-owning peeps love when their partners use the FC2 because unlike male condoms, it is not restrictive or tight on the penis.

Like male condoms, there is a right and a wrong way to use the FC2.  Check out the video and/or come to New Gen for more correct usage information.  Oh,  and the video only discusses vaginal use and not anal use because of the lack of FDA approval. I did sneak in the ‘How-To” created by the SF Department of Public Health STD Prevention and Control branch (again, gotta love the bay area).  Check out their awesome FC2 website.

In happiness & health,


Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP

DO IT Yourself!

Hi Shawna,

I’m a 16 year old girl and have been masturbating since I was 10. Is it normal for girls to masturbate?


I’m so glad you asked this question.  Here is the simple answer; IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL!  At least 90% of men and 70% of women masturbate, though some experts say the numbers are even higher.

Before I go further,  let me introduce myself.  My name is Christa and I have been at New Generation Health Center as a Health Educator for almost a year.  In my free time I go hiking and eat a lot of chocolate.  I love teaching sexual health and helping young men and women feel comfortable and empowered in their bodies and their lives.  That’s why I believe talking openly about masturbation is so important!

Masturbation is a healthy, wonderful part of our sexual lives. There is no “normal age” to start masturbating,  even babies sometimes do it.  As we get older,  it becomes more and more important for developing a healthy experience of our own bodies.  In the UK,  there have even been some public health campaigns that encourage teens to masturbate!

I know,  however,  that there is a lot of stigma around masturbation.  People may feel nervous,  guilty,  or embarrassed and might not be able to talk to their friends about these negative feelings. So let’s get it all out in the open.

There are a lot of negative myths about masturbation.  Maybe you’ve heard it makes you blind,  grows hair on your palms,  or stunts your growth.  Maybe you’ve heard that it makes it harder to orgasm with a partner once you’ve gotten used to doing it yourself.  Maybe you’ve heard that only people who can’t “get some” masturbate, or that girls don’t masturbate,  or that people in relationships don’t masturbate.  The list of myths goes on and on.

The great secret?  None of these are true!  Masturbation is healthy,  both physically and emotionally.  It releases stress,  relieves menstrual cramps in women,  can reduce risk of diseases of the reproductive organs,  and increase the chemicals in your brain which make you feel happy.  Many people masturbate to help themselves fall asleep or relieve headaches.  But the biggest benefit is that solo sex is the ultimate form of safer sex — there is no risk of pregnancy or sexual transmitted infection.

People learn about their bodies by giving themselves pleasure.  It increases your self-awareness,  self-esteem and sexual independence. Knowing your own body and what turns you on can give  you a sense of control over your sexual life that is hard to find when relying only on a partner.  If you do have a partner,  knowing how to please yourself can also help you communicate better about what you enjoy;  you can even masturbate with your partner.

So congratulations,  Anonymous! Not only is masturbation normal,  it is awesome.

For all readers who may not have tried masturbation yet (I know I was surprised when I got to college and found out that many of my friends had never tried because they thought it was “weird” or that they didn’t know how) let’s get down to it.  Masturbation is all about exploration.  If something feels good to you, keep doing it.  If something doesn’t, stop! Here are some tips to get you started.

Who: You!

What: You can use your fingers,  a toy (if you are over 18, try visiting a sex shop and asking for advice, or you can even order vibrators online),  a pillow,  the water faucet in your bathtub, etc etc.  Always make sure that anything you insert inside is clean.  If you are sharing a toy with someone else or using it in different “destinations,” like your anus and then your vagina,  put a condom on between uses.

Some people like to look at erotic magazines,  stories,  or videos. Some people just use their imaginations.

Try different motions,  pressures,  and locations.  And remember;  lube always helps!

Where: Anywhere you feel safe and comfortable.  What about where on your body? Try your neck,  nipples,  inner thighs,  ears,  mouth,  underarms,  penis,  testicles,  clitoris,  vulva,  anus,  perineum,  and even your feet!  If you are wondering what any of these places are,  check out our male and female anatomy post.

When: Can I say whenever?  The only way you can masturbate too often is if it interferes with your normal life,  activities,  or relationships.

Why: I hope we all agree on why by this point : )

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers! Give THANKS to YOURSELF!

In Happiness and Health,


Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD and Andrea Raider, NP

The Ninja of STDs!

Hey Shawna,

What is the most common STD?


Oh, this is an easy one.  The answer is (drum roll please)…. CHLAMYDIA!

Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States and we see LOTS of it here at New Generation Health Center.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.

How Do People Get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is passed from one person to another through female vaginal fluids and male ejaculatory fluids (cum and pre-cum) of people who are infected.  Although it is most commonly passed through sexual intercourse (penis in vagina or penis in anus),  it can also be transmitted (passed from one person to another) orally (mouth on penis/vagina/anus). Meaning,  it’s possible to get chlamydia in your vagina,  penis,  or your mouth.

You can’t catch chlamydia from a towel,  doorknob,  or toilet seat.

*Anus is the butthole

What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Unfortunately,  most people don’t experience any symptoms and therefore don’t know they have it.  The lack of symptoms is why chlamydia is such a common infection – it is easily passed unknowingly!

But for those who do have symptoms,  they usually goes as follows:

For women symptoms may include pain and itching of the vulva or vagina;  vaginal discharge;  unusual vaginal or anal bleeding;  pain with urination (peeing);  and/or pain when having sex.

For men symptoms may include discharge from the penis or the anus;  pain or itching at the head of the penis;  and/or pain with urination.

IF only it were this easy to tell if someone has chlamydia.

How is Chlamydia Treated?

Fortunately,  chlamydia is easy to treat.  Just 2 pills of an antibiotic and no bodily fluid exchanges for a week (meaning no sex or sex with a condom) and it’s gone like you never had it.  But treating it once doesn’t mean you can’t get it again in the future if you are re-exposed.  That’s why it’s important that any partners you have also get tested and/or treated.

What is the Test for Chlamydia?

EASY!  Pee in a cup!!!  That’s all we ask you to do here at NGHC anyway.  Other clinics may take a swab (use a big Q-Tip) of the vagina,  penis,  or anus.  The sample (pee or swab) is then sent to a lab where it takes about a week to process and get the results.

We recommend that sexually active teens and young adults test for chlamydia at least once a year.  More if they have more than one partner or if there is unprotected sex (sex without a condom).

Routine testing is important (even if no symptoms are present) because if chlamydia is left untreated it can lead to a more serious infection that can cause infertility (not being able to get pregnant) in the future.

How Do You Prevent Chlamydia?

Luckily,  this is also easy!  Use condoms.  Condoms prevent the sharing of fluids.  No exposure to fluids = no chlamydia! Also,  talk to your partner(s) about their STD status.  If they haven’t been tested recently,  you may want to wait to have sex.

Get tested! Use Condoms!

Check out Planned Parenthood for more information!

In happiness & health,


Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD

Had an abortion? You are not alone.

Of all pregnancies in the US each year, half are unintended.  40% of these unintended pregnancies end in abortion.   One in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 30.

(Guttmacher Institute, 2011)

If you,  a friend, or a partner have had an abortion,  you might know that it’s not always easy.  It’s normal to have many confusing feelings after an abortion.  The main reasons for choosing to have an abortion include:

  • being worried or concerned for others
  • not being financially ready to care for a child
  • not being ready for a child when thinking about their goals in school or their job
  • not wanting to raise a child on their own or being worried about how it will affect their relationship with their partner (Guttmacher Insitute, 2008)

Most women report feeling relief initially, but some may feel sadness,  anger,  or confusion.  Some may feel nothing different and some may feel just like something is different.  It’s also normal to have your emotions change from day to day or month to month about your experience.  Your experience is your own unique journey.  Your experience with abortion may be something that you have a hard time sharing with others,  even your best friend or partner.

There are people you can talk to.

Exhale is a free and confidential national hotline that connects you with supportive people who will listen to your experience.  You can share how you feel, how you don’t feel, what you think about, and whatever you need to say or do for your own personal care.  Exhale isn’t only for those who have had an abortion, it’s for anyone – a partner, friend, or parent.

  • Watch this video to see who will be on the other line: Exhale: After-Abortion Support.
    As a heads up, this video is from a website that is raising money for the video to be aired.

If you are pregnant and considering your options, there are other people you can talk to.  Backline offers pregnancy options counseling if you want to learn about what you can do when you’re pregnant.  Whether you have questions about continuing the pregnancy and being a parent, or continuing the pregnancy and looking into adoption, or, if you aren’t ready for pregnancy, learning about abortion, you will have support that is free and confidential with Backline.

No matter where you are at, it’s important to keep in mind that you are going through a lot, physically and emotionally.  Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat, and sleep when you need it.  Talk to people you trust when you feel ready.   Breathe, you have people there to support you.

Yours truly,

Mei-Lani and the New Gen Crew

Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP & Kohar Der Simonian, MD

Arm Yourself!!! 3 Years of Match Stick Size Protection!

Hi Shawna,

I am not really into the idea of having something inside my uterus (IUD). I heard about something called the Implanon. What’s that all about?


Yay! Another good question!!!

The Implanon/Nexplanon is one of New Generation Health Center’s (NGHC) favorite methods of birth control because it is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC).  What does that mean?  It means that it is a very effective birth control method that lasts a long time and is not permanent (meaning once the method is removed or stopped, a woman can get pregnant again).

I refer to it as the Implanon/Nexplanon because soon the Implanon will be replaced by the Nexplanon.  It’s really not that different other than the company made some changes to the actual inserter so that it is easier for a clinician to insert.  Oh, and the Nexplanon is able to be seen with x-ray (cool huh?).

What is the Implanon/Nexplanon?

The Implanon/Nexplanon is a small (about the size of a match stick) piece of plastic that is inserted on the inside of the upper arm (private and protected).  It sits above the muscle but underneath the skin and once placed,  can be felt if touched,  but not seen.

How does it work?

It works by releasing a hormone that prevents ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary).  No egg means no pregnancy!  In fact, it is more than 99% effective!!!

How long does it last?

The Implanon/Nexplanon works for up to 3 years!!!  However,  if you wanted it removed earlier for whatever reason that can totally be done.  But seriously, how cool is it not to worry about getting pregnant for 3 years at a time?!?!

How is it inserted? Removed?

The Implanon/Nexplanon can only be inserted and removed by a clinician.  A small cut is made to both insert and remove the device.  Don’t worry though,  the cut is super small (about the size of a larger freckle) and your arm is numbed first (after the numbing,  you don’t feel any pain with the insertion or removal).  The whole process only takes a few minutes.

The Implanon/Nexplanon sounds awesome. What are the not so great things about it?

Many women who use the Implanon/Nexplanon LOVE it but the most common issue is with irregular bleeding, especially the first 6 – 12 months of use.  You may experience longer or shorter bleeding during your periods or have no bleeding at all.  The time between periods may vary,  and in between periods you may also have spotting.  This is not unusual or dangerous and it won’t keep you from getting pregnant in the future.

For some women,  irregular bleeding is no big deal,  especially if they have irregular bleeding to begin with.  Many women use panty liners or make sure to always carry pads or tampons with them.  For other women,  not knowing when they will be bleeding can be super annoying.

There are some other possible side effects but they are rare.  It is best to discuss those with your clinician.

It’s also important to note that as cool as the Implanon/Nexplanon is,  it does NOT protect against STD’s or HIV.  If that is a concern,  condoms should also be used (can’t go wrong with double protection!).

Where can I get one?

From us here at New Generation Health Center!!!!  We insert them all the time.  Our clinicians are very experienced and will make sure the insertion goes as easily as possible.

If you are not from the Bay Area,  ask your doctor or visit your local Planned Parenthood!

To sum things up:

The Awesomeness:

  • Total convenience – 3 years of not having to hassle with remembering to use your method or deal with the pharmacy.
  • Lasts for a long time – 3 years!!! You can have the old one removed and a new one put in if you want.
  • Once placed, no one can see it or has to know you are using it.
  • Super effective (means it works really well).
  • Easy to insert and to remove.

The Not so Awesome:

  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV.
  • Bleeding can be unpredictable and irregular.
  • It can only be inserted and removed by a clinician.

The Implanon/Nexplanon is so awesome that even boyfriends like it! Check out AJ’s story!  He and his girlfriend are stoked about it!

In health & happiness,


Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP