Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: Healthy Hoohoo

I grew up in a time when douching was losing some appeal. My parents were hippies, but my mom's socialization as a woman with a vulva stayed with her. The ideas that our bodies are not attractive if they look or smell a particular way lead her to douching, but not for long.

Never was I raised with the impression that I need to douche. I was always told that warm water and fragrance-free soap would get any odor or discomfort I felt about my vulva taken care of quickly and comfortably.

Today is a new day. I've grown more into my own body and am understanding sometimes why folks choose douching as an option. I've not been attractive enough to that choice, especially after the cancerous cells on my cervix in 2012 and 2013 treatment, but I understand how our bodies change and how some options are more appeal and accessible than others.

Enter Healthy Hoohoo. I was not fully sure about this product, for myself or others. So this review is just about my experience. I want to make that clear because each body and vulva is different. Folks may have similar or very different experiences. Those could be better or less than exceptional from my own experience. Just keep this in mind when considering trying this product.

I found Healthy Hoohoo very useful for beach weather and my long days with a fun evening end. After Hurricane Sandy, many of NYC beaches are coming back to life, however not all have the same facilities we may be used to such as bathrooms that are well lit, access to clean water to shower, and ways to get sand off your body and out of your body when you are leaving.

I love the beach, it is my spiritual safe place. What better way to drown (literally and figuratively) the woos and concerns that bring me down than to head to a place that reminds me with every grain of sand and the epic vastness of the ocean that I am just a small speck of life on a brilliant universe. It really is calming. But the sand in all the sweet spots is not calming!

My Healthy Hoohoo wipes came in handy in those situations. I don't want to sit in a wet swimsuit as I ride the train back home, which could be over an hour depending on where we go! I always pack a change of bottoms with me and a pantyliner. The Healthy Hoohoo wipes helped with cleanup and any fears I may have had about having sand and seaweed in or around my vulva. I used the Feminine wipes and took those with me to the beach.

The feminine wipes come in a small blue packaging that has an adhesive opening and closure to keep the wipes clean and moist. They also have a foam and body wash available as well. The foam comes in a pump and expels as a foam (think how some hand soap dispensers work). Healthy Hoohoo is scent free, pH balanced, free of any parabens, alcohol free, and tested on folks with vulvas and not animals.

The wipes also come in handy when I want to freshen up for a date I may have even if I'm out most of the day. I'm the type that produces a lot of vaginal fluid and lubrication. This is common for my body. Other vulvas do not produce as much fluid as I do and others may produce more. Those of us who produce similar or more know the challenge of keeping panties from getting stained, so wearing pantyliners daily is a thing for me. No going commando for me!

I share that to let folks know that if you are uncomfortable about the fluid you produce and the amount, you are not alone and it is not uncommon! Throughout the day I can produce various amounts of fluid. If I see an attractive person on and talk with them, I could produce fluid, if I think about what I may be doing later that night, more fluid; I get an email from my partners, more fluid; I giggle or laugh or sneeze and I may dispel a little bit of urine (do some Kegel exercises to limit this) all of these are common experiences for me and Healthy Hoohoo helps with these experiences.

If you are looking to purchase and try Healthy Hoohoo consider their product finder by zip code. As this is a new product it may not be available in all locations you usually purchase feminine products. Consider also ordering online. The feminine wipes I used have 10 wipes in them for under $5. Foam and feminine wash are a bit under $15. If you try this product share what your experiences and thoughts were in the comments!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: Barriers to Love: Embracing A Bisexual Identity

It is not often that books about and by bisexual identified people are published. Perhaps we get a few essays into an anthology, but rarely do we have access to the lived experiences of those who identify as bisexual throughout their lives.

Marina Peralta, a Mexican psychotherapist and dancer, has written her own testimonio in Barriers to Love: Embracing A Bisexual Identity (Barriers Press, 2013). Born and raised in Mexico City, we follow Marina as she shares her journey to understanding her own sexual needs, pleasures, and identity.

The book is written in English and the Spanish dialogue and phrases are translated. Just under 200 pages, the book is accessible and the story is shared in a writing style that is reminiscent of a novel. This made the book an enjoyable read and one that was actually very quick to complete. I found myself being challenged by much of what Marina had shared, considering how my own ideas and beliefs may be built upon stereotypes, even as a bisexual Puerto Rican who now identifies more fully as pansexual.

For example, this book shares Marina's childhood sexual abuse and early sex play. Much of the childhood sex play I find common and ones that I identified with myself. I have had my share of childhood sexual play and memories. They type of play that is curious and exploratory but innocent and honest as children often are at young ages. What was a challenge for me was the connections I feared some may make with childhood sexual abuse and play, linking them to bisexual identity. We see this happen all too often among folks in the sex work or trade, those who are outside of the heterosexual classifications, and among people of Color in general (see teen pregnancy rates, STI rates, and the like for these connections academics and researchers make all too often about us).

I appreciate Marina's ability to demonstrate her agency within constraints as she explored and became more of herself as she grew and aged. We read about her as a young 12 year old girl who makes choices about her own desires and sexual pleasure, some that may include others and some that may not. We come to understand how she craved a life that would fill her with adventure, love, affirmation, and security. A story many of us a familiar with and desire for ourselves.

Most complicated was her experience being raised by a single mother after her very affluent father was murdered. Her relationship with her mother shifts, as many do, as she ages and becomes a teenager and young woman. We understand how her witnessing her mother's goals to care for her children resulted in some decisions that left Marina feeling isolated or ignored by her mother, but understand her as a complicated woman, very layered, and who cared very deeply for her children.

Following Marina's live through marriage, bearing and parenting a child, and moving to the US is just as engaging and striking as the beginning of her text. Her sharing of the challenges that come with being a parent, dating as a single parent, co-parenting with a man, and finding a life that fills her with joy are honest. This is another aspect of Mexican and Latina women's lives we still do not hear, yet many of us know or are women in similar situations.

There were moments in the earlier part of the text that I thought to myself: this is what all of that early anthropological research by academics who are outsiders wrote about. Meaning much of the work we now understand as connected to ideas of machismo and marianismo, which were often erroneous and misunderstood ideas that were made unique to Mexicans and Latinos today. I began to see how our experiences could still be classified as fitting neatly into those categories they create for us, when we don't see ourselves in those spaces at all!

The book is available for purchase online in many different places. Consider supporting your local independent bookstore first to purchase. There is an e-book version as well if cost is a concern as those texts are often less expensive.

I'm looking forward to hearing the narratives of those who complicate our ideas of heterosexuality, bisexuality, and who push us in new an exciting ways. I hope ya'll are there to enjoy the journey too.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Self Love Sex Toy Giveaway!

The fabulous folks at Adam & Eve have donated several toys for our readers and followers! Our first round of giveaways will be with my homegirls at Hip Hop is for Lovers Uche & LeneƩ! Tune in TONIGHT to see how you can win!

There will be other ways to win coming up so make sure to keep an eye out for those opportunities! There are 3 toys you could win (you will get one of the 3 at random if you are a winner):

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: One Lubricant

Just in time for whatever plans you do/not have for Valentine's Day and National Condom Day our reviews come back! As usual we will focus on affordable gifts that will be accessible for many folks and budgets.



We've been trying ONE Move deluxe lubricant exclusively since July. Yes that's almost 6 months, so you know this review will be from more than just a few experiences. ONE Move lubricant is a clear and odorless silicone based lubricant that is packaged in a medium bottle (100ml) with a push button top. The packaging alone is very modern, it reminded me of something futuristic with the clear, silver and black details.

One of the things I really appreciated about the lube was that it also came in smaller 3ml sachets that are round, portable, and just a sleek packaging as the bottle. As with many lubricants that promote they are non-sticky and smooth, ONE Move lubricant actually delivers, each time.

We just needed a small amount and it went a long way for a long time. The long lasting feature is one that you may also enjoy as it is waterproof for various scenarios and environments. I appreciate this feature as it means you actually get a product that works, is comfortable, and that will be worth the investment. Some lubricants you use so much in such a short period of time that you end up spending more money than needed for the desired impact.

As for clean-up it was just what you want in a lube: no mess and no hassle. Because it is odorless and you only need a certain amount, having a space full of lube spills isn't going to happen unless you want it to with ONE Move. Even with the lube all over your hands and reaching for more, the bottle isn't going to get grossly sticky and warm water and soap was all that was needed to clean up the bottle. Any additional lube that wasn't used came out easily from fabrics.

Great packaging, affordable prices, no smell, no taste, waterproof, and in portable sizes as well is what you'll get with ONE Move deluxe lubricant. Those are all some really amazing features. You may find ONE Move deluxe lubricant at your local Walgreens and CVS.

Find out more about ONE Move deluxe lubricant and products at the official ONE website. While you are there check out the opportunities for working with ONE products. They are looking for folks for their street teams promoting products,  if you are an artist of any sort, visit the ONE design contest and maybe you could win and see your design on their packaging! You may also encourage your corporation or organization to use ONE products with your own private labels.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey In 24 Magazine!

I was interviewed by my homegirl Aida for 24 Magazine's 5th issue on Data. We are a 4 page spread from page 32-35. Check it out below, here are a few screen shots, but click here to read in full and the rest of the 70+ page issue!



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Update on Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey

This post should really be called “Bianca’s Thug Tears” because that’s what I experience when I “check in” to see how many folks have taken the survey thus far.

When we started I had thought “if we could get 30 folks by the end of May that would be fantastic!” By Tuesday evening almost 25 folks had participated. Then I thought “Ok, maybe 50 is a good number to hope for by the end of May.”

Today, 5 days into sharing the survey, almost 50 Afr@Latin@s have taken the survey! This is incredible! I think of all of the valuable time each of you shared in taking the survey, sharing it, and linking back to the survey so others can see and partake and am so overwhelmed by thanks and gratitude.  This is also a reminder that we are in need and desiring these conversations that include all of us; all parts of who we are; and that these are not occurring at this time. This reminder also brings me to tears: How have we been excluded for so long when we were here all along?!

We have only posted this on three spaces: tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. I have yet to even send this out as an email to folks in my address book or to the listserves that I know about and where folks may be interested. As I think of how this number may grow, my adoration for Afr@Latin@s grows as well; the awareness of what needs to be done expands. I realize the urgency of this work.

I also recognize some of the “flaws” with this work: the survey is only online and there are more of us who may not be; the survey is currently only in English and we speak so many other languages; the survey asks only a few short questions; some of the definitions may not be clear, or may be too rigid. I take sole and complete responsibility for all of these (and the others that may arise). My hope is that folks recognize that the urgency, for me, was to acquire this information to begin to build and create what we need collectively. The urgency is in our ability to share, speak, and create and we have a challenge with the rates at which we are being hurt, harmed, murdered, deported, incarcerated, isolated, and erased. I am determined to begin this now and take all responsibility for any flaws as they come.

As part of the “next steps” we (Tasasha the “intern” who is working with me) are still keeping our July 2013 date to share publicly (while maintaining the identit(ies) of folks who participated as confidential) the findings in the most accessible way. I’d love if someone who believes their translation skills from English to another language Afr@Latin@s speak is strong to help with translation, reach out to possibly help us translate the survey and findings!

Please know this is an unpaid project. Tasasha and I are NOT getting paid for any of the effort or work. This work is not funded by any source. It is as independent and grassroots as it gets! What is being offered in exchange for help and support: strong recommendation letters and references, skills around this work, mentorship, and citation credit.

I’ll soon be sharing my vision of a communal citation so those who have participated can receive a publishing credit when the findings are shared. Please be on the look out for that post. If you took the survey and shared an email address you will receive this in your inbox when it is available. Others may look online to where this information will be shared and archived.

So many thanks to each of you and to Tasasha for all of your help and work and time and sharing of your needs. I see you and I witness our collective evolution and struggle, and I thank you for seeing me and witnessing my evolution too.

Bianca

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey

To take the survey now click here!

Bianca Laureano is an award-winning fierce-haired Puerto Rican LatiNegra sexologist living in New York City. For over a decade Bianca has worked with communities of Color on various topics connected to sex and sexuality. She is co-founder of The LatiNegr@s Project and hosts LatinoSexuality.com. Bianca is an independent scholar, writer, and radical educator. She identifies as a radical woman of Color and you may read more about her at BiancaLaureano.com. She is joined by an unpaid intern, Tasasha Henderson who is helping with promotion and distribution. You may contact Bianca with any questions or suggestions at LatiNegraSexologist@gmail.com.

This project is an attempt to bring LatiNegr@s, Blaktin@s, Cariben@s, Afr@Latin@s, et. al. into conversations around sex/uality. Often we are not included completely, and only presented as either ethnically Latin@ or racially Black. The questions below center demographics, resources available and used by LatiNegr@s, and forms of sex/uality information from various people in our communities.

Responses to this survey are 100% confidential and your responses will not in any way be connected to your identit(ies) unless you agree to have Bianca contact you via email for additional survey questions. If you chose not to share your contact information your response will be anonymous. This information will help begin to shift conversations and begin to provide LatiNegr@s with the opportunity to share our own experiences. The findings will be made available by July 2013 at LatinoSexuality.com and folks are welcome to use the findings in their own work to bring awareness, inclusivity, and justice to conversations about LatiNegr@s and our sexuality needs, resources, and narratives. The citation will be a communal citation and not one solely attributed to Bianca as this is a communal effort.

This is phase one of a budding multi-layered project centering LatiNegr@s and sex/uality. Additional parts of the project includes media, workshops, and community building among LatiNegr@s. If you are interested in joining other parts/phases of this project please reach out to Bianca at LatiNegraSexologist@gmail.com.

Although each question is "required" with a red *, please note if you do not want to comment or do not have anything further to share please write any word you choose (i.e. n/a, see above, etc.)  to move through the survey.

Many thanks in advance for your time, input, and participation.

To take the survey click this link.