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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hot & Cold Ceramic Dildo

I came across this dildo on a website that features "designer" sex toys. On, it is priced at $190 USD... which I find pretty steep considering that it doesn't dance, light up or buzz lol. Yet, it does have an intriguing function. This dildo is hollow and it has a cork on one end, which allows you to fill it up with hot or cold water! What a cool/hot idea!

- Alice

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Re: Cramps

Diuretics are supposed to help with cramping if used consistently a few days before the expected period. I wouldn't recommend taking ex-lax or any other strong laxatives (especially if it's for more than one day). Some helpful options are drinking dandelion tea, cranberry juice or aloe vera juice. I still get menstrual cramps, but they do not last as long and are not as painful. If anyone has any other tips, please email us!

- Alice

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blood Stains

A quick easy way to get rid of difficult (read: dry) blood stains is to use cold water & saliva. Rinse the stained fabric in cold water, spit on the blood stain and scrub. It will come out like magic! I read somewhere that it has to be your own blood and your own saliva...I'm not sure if this is the case as I have never borrowed/loaned saliva for this purpose. Either way, it works.

- Vivian

Friday, March 20, 2009


I have been dealing with unbelievable cramps this week. Here are some quick tips you can try that might help.

DIY Acupressure:
Apply pressure to the inside of your anklebones with your thumb. Hold for ten seconds.

Quick Yoga: Alternate child's pose with savasana and wind relieving posture (alternatively to what is shown on this website, you can try bringing both knees to your chest, and holding your elbows with opposite hands, wrapped over your knees). Breathe! In through the nose, out through the mouth. Concentrate on taking deep breaths that fill your lungs with air. When in savasana place your hands on your belly and when inhaling make sure it fills up and expands. Hold for a moment. Release.

Apply heat: Drink hot tea! It's comforting. Get a hot water bottle (preferably one with a soft cover) and snuggle with it.

*Note: According to Alice drinking Dandelion tea a few days before your period prevents insane cramping. For more info about this e-mail us at

- Vivian

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vaginal Dryness

Here's a site that has some background info on why/how vaginal dryness occurs and some natural remedies that may help your body produce lubricating secretions.

Drinking lots of water to hydrate your body is very important. Being on a low-fat diet may also cause vaginal dryness. This doesn't mean that you should go out for fish and chips, but consuming dairy products and oils (ie: flax seed or olive oil) may help.

- Alice

Paps: Why, What, How?

A friend of mine sent this to me months ago and I forgot to post it! Click here for info on who should have paps, why they're important, and what the results mean.

I am a strong advocate for getting paps! I'm not sure what "sexually active" means (women who are/have been sexually active are usually encouraged to have a pap), but similar to what Vivian has said in her post on BSE, you should get to know your body!

Paps can feel incredibly invasive and even painful at times, so it's a good idea to have it done somewhere that you feel safe (ie: at a gynaecologist's office if you have issues with your family doctor), and to consider bringing along some kind of supportive person if you're nervous.

Contact us if you would like to be referred to a sex clinic near you. Getting a pap done at one of these can be helpful because 1) they do them all the time and 2) they will explain everything about the procedure to you (which may not be the case at your family doctor's office). (S)experts are always helpful :).

- Alice

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More on the Breast Self-Exam!

I am a firm believer that being familiar with your mammary region is immensely beneficial. Regardless of what your gender is, or how many breasts you have, or the size/shape of your breasts, or any other particularity (and there are many!), there is really no downside to being able to detect changes in your body. Taking this further, it is great to be able to detect when these changes are cause for alarm and when they are simply processes that the body goes through.

That said, breast self-examination is not for everyone. It is an extremely personal choice. I posted an entry a few months back about controversy over whether breast self-examination is useful or harmful and this might be useful for anybody considering whether BSE is a "habit" they'd like to take up.

When should I do a BSE?
Normally, it is recommended to do a BSE once each month. The entire process takes about 15 minutes and is relatively easy. You can also tailor your BSE routine, figuring out what is best for you.

For those who menstruate, you may notice that your breasts are particularly tender/swollen/etc. during certain times of the month (due to changing hormone levels). Normally, it is best not to BSE during these. Rather, choose a time of the month when hormone levels are relatively stable and your breasts are less tender/swollen/etc.
*Note: there are countless reasons why breasts may feel swollen/tender -- pregnancy, medication side-effects, stress, breast growth, etc. (just to name a few)

What am I looking for during a BSE?
1. Hard lumps/knots inside the breast(s)
2. Changes in the way the breast(s) look or feel (i.e. skin dimpling, change in colour/texture, rashes, scaly skin, etc.)
3. Nipple discharge other than breast milk (i.e. blood, unfamiliar fluid)
4. As far as I am concerned, whenever I feel something "off" I like to have it checked (this is how I found I had a benign cyst in my left breast at age 13!)

How do I do a BSE?
1. Visual Exam I: Stand in front of a mirror, hands on hips and check the appearance of your breast(s). Take note of changes, especially those listed above.
2. Visual Exam II: Raise your arms, cradling the back of your head with your palms and check the appearance of your breast(s). Take note of changes, especially those listed above.
3. Manual Exam I: Raise one of your arms and use the fingers of the opposite hand to feel the mammary region, applying some pressure. Work your way around the densest part of the breast, then feel underneath it, above it all the way up to the collar bones, and up into the armpit. Repeat on other side. Check the nipples/areolae for unfamiliar discharge.
4. Manual Exam II: Lay back hoisting your head and shoulders with a pillow. Repeat steps for Manual Exam I.

*I have never used this, but a friend directed me to the Bemitt website. The Bemitt is a product that is supposed to be helpful when performing BSEs by reducing friction and enhancing the sense of touch. I have not tried this product but if anybody has, a review would be most welcome!

Some interesting/useful sources

Keep A Breast (I<3Boobies)

Abreast: The Basics of Boobies

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

- Vivian

Don't Rape

I was weeding out old emails from my inbox today when I came across this. I received the following message in an email last year amidst the numerous reports of violence against women at the York U Keele Campus:

Open letter from Graduate Women’s Studies Students Association to the York Community.
Re: sexual assaults on campus.

We’re writing this letter because we’re angry.

First, because women at York are being attacked, sexually assaulted and raped. Like everyone, we have the right to study and work without fear of violence.

Second, we’re angry because instead of hearing a loud and repeated condemnation of sexual assault, we’re told how to avoid being raped. York administration’s security bulletin calls on us to be “vigilant” about our safety. Women have heard this before: don’t make the same mistakes as ‘those’ women; don’t go out alone at night; don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time; basically, don’t get raped.

We’re angry because this is about our bodies, our lives, our dignity. But our anger about York’s official response does not stop with administrators: when they imply the perpetrators are strangers with no ties to York, no one has to take responsibility. Rape is a public relations nightmare, but denying its rootedness in the York community will not protect us.

Sexual assault and rape at York is done by people from York. We’re angry because we want to trust the people we live, work and study with. We want to be in a community that does not tell us, tacitly or officially, “don’t get raped,” but instead, values women enough to say, “don’t rape.” Rape is not accidental, and it is not isolated. It thrives in a culture that is tolerant of violence, especially violence against women. Currently, it thrives here, at York.

We want this culture to change, and that takes work. Security cameras and extra lighting are not the kind of “vigilance” we need.

We want to feel safe and respected. So you be vigilant: don’t rape.


- Alice


A while I ago I posted something on vulvar vestibulitis (pain around the vaginal opening). Vivian recently sent me some information on Vulvodynia which includes any sort of pain or discomfort of the vulva (mistakenly called the vagina). Click here for some more information on this condition, as well as the program that is devoted to treating vulvodynia at the gynaecology clinic at Women's College hospital in Toronto.

You must get a referral from your family doctor before you can see a gyneacologist. If your doctor is not accommodating or does not believe/understand/give a damn about your pain then try to find another doctor who will give you a referral.

- Alice

WASH Website Launch!

We are proud to announce that our website is finally up! It is still in its formative stages, but we are very excited about it! I'd like to thank our newest WASH coordinator Stef for making this happen :) Click here to check it out.

- Alice

Friday, March 6, 2009

Celebrating the Right to Choose

I'm Not Sorry

"I' is a site where women can share their positive experiences with abortion. The stories posted on this site may contain graphic descriptions of medical procedures, as well as attitudes that may not be in current vogue. We welcome all visitors of all opinions as long as they are respectful of our views"

- Vivian

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Interdisciplinarity in Feminist State Theory: A Symposium

This weekend there is a conference that looks super interesting going on at U of T!

"What varied disciplinary legacies inform contemporary feminist scholarship on the state? What contributions does feminist state theory, as an interdisciplinary site, offer to more conventionally disciplined theories of state? How do feminist theorizations of security, sovereignty and welfare overlap or differ across national locations?
These questions are at the heart of this symposium organized by the Women & Gender Studies Institute." (for more information see link above)

March 6th & 7th, 2009

William Doo Auditorium
New College
University of Toronto
45 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario

How much?
This event is free! RSVP to to take part in a complimentary buffet lunch on Friday, March 6th.

- Vivian

Monday, March 2, 2009

Herbal abortions

I'm not sure how effective these methods may be but anyone who's interested can check out this website which contains suggestions for herbal abortion methods. The site can be kind of confusing to navigate through but there is some interesting information in there if you're willing to search for it.

Warning: use herbal abortion methods at your own risk.

- Alice

Honey dust

Honey dust is an edible powder used as a skin conditioner. It is also a yummy way to make things interesting (by experimenting with smell/taste/texture) with yourself or with a partner(s). You can sprinkle it on skin, dust it around with feathers, put it on wet fingers/wet lips, use it to garnish cupcakes...the possibilities are endless.

It is made by the Kama Sutra line -- you can find it here or at most sex shops around town.

Alternatively, you can prepare honey dust yourself! A good friend of mine sent me this recipe. He says you have to really work it through with your fingers/sift it in order to get rid of clumps. Here it is:

1.5 Tablespoons of Vanilla Powder
1.5 Cups of Arrowroot Powder
2 Teaspoons of Honey
Mix the vanilla powder with the arrowroot powder. Add the honey.
With clean hands, work the mix with your fingers until the clumps become a fine powder.

- Vivian

Sunday, March 1, 2009

NEW: Artist of the Month - Colleen Wolstenholme

As an aspiring artist with a strong interest in feminist theory, gender politics, and women's health I am constantly on the prow for past and practicing artists whose work addresses these particular issues.
Feminism and Women's issues are dominant themes in today's contemporary art world. There are female and male artists all over the world working in every medium imaginable who are focusing their work on these topics. So, on behalf of WASH, we are bringing you a new artist profile every month, particularly ones with a strong focus in issues effecting women and women's health!

Colleen Wolstenholme is an internationally exhibiting artist from Nova Scotia whose work focuses on the effect that gender construction and media representation have on women and women's bodies. Working in sculpture, installation, photography and textile, Wolstenholme's work often takes on the look of stereotypical feminine objects, which when looked at closely are made up of composed consumerist products that are constantly marketed to women. In, Pills, large pill sculptures span over the floor expressing the over prescription and marketing of pharmaceuticals. In Birth Control/Viagra Rosary, a rosary of different birth control pills addresses the over medicalization of women's bodies,and how women's roles are perceived within certain fundamentalist cultures, whichever they may be.
Wolstenholme's work has engaged viewers for over a decade with its sheer size and detail, as well as its important and relevant content.
For more of her work and information, check out her website.