From masturbation to STIs, people shoot hundreds of questions to Karishma, a sexuality educator, when she hosts ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions on Instagram every weekend. She does so from her page called The Talk You Never Got on Instagram.
She shares the top five most common kind of queries she receives and the answers to those.
Common questions: Is masturbation okay? Can I masturbate once a day? Can I masturbate three times a week? Will I get hairy palms from masturbation? Will I get blind?
Karishma: The answer is no, to all of those questions that ask will something happen if I masturbate. And whether there is a right number or not, that’s really up to you. There is no negative side effect to masturbation. Masturbation is just a simple way for someone to get self-pleasure. It cannot affect your acne or your hair growth or your weight or any such thing.
Common questions: Will someone find out that I had sex? Is it okay that I didn’t bleed the first time? Is it okay that I bleed every time I have sex?
Karishma: The answer is no one should be bleeding any time that they are having sex whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time. Sometimes, occasionally when someone has sex for the first time, their hymen is a tissue that might get stretched a bit which might cause a little bit of bleeding. However, bleeding and pain are not normal parts of sex. Let me hit you with some of the key facts about virginity. Number one, no one can find out whether you are a virgin or not because, number two, the hymen is not a seal that covers the vagina fully. People tend to think that it’s some type of cover that you have to break through the first time. That’s simply not true. Most people’s hymens actually have holes. Maybe one in a hundred thousand people have a completely sealed hymen and if someone has a completely sealed hymen even things like menstrual blood don’t really come out so easily. And thirdly, virginity is a social construct and it is used to police people’s bodies.
Condoms and STIs
Common questions: Is it safe to have oral sex without protection?
Is it safe to have sex without protection, if I’m in a monogamous relationship?
Karishma: nearly nothing in sex is completely safe. There is always some amount of risk involved, whether it’s a risk of pregnancy or STI transmissions. A few measures people can take to reduce that risk include using condoms, especially when it comes to STI transmission. When it comes to oral sex with someone with a vulva or with someone’s anus, you would need to use a dental dam. People often are like ‘I don’t have an STI.’ I’m have to say, listen, you don’t know whether or not you have an STI unless you get testedbecause most STIs out there, even some harmful ones generally tend to be asymptomatic in most people.
Common questions: What types of lubricants should I use? Can I use Vaseline as a lubricant? Can I use coconut oil as a lubricant? Why can’t I use a flavoured lubricant? Can I use a lubricant if I’m trying to get pregnant?
Karishma: I love to tell people that flavoured lubricants can actually be really harmful if used near the vulva or inside the vagina because they can cause yeast infections. Anything fragranced, flavoured down there can cause infections. So if you do use a lubricant, do use something that doesn’t have flavouring. If you’re using a condom, or a toy made of silicon, you want to make sure you are using a water-based lubricant. If you use oil, vaseline or any such thing it can make condoms break more easily.