WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WANTS: HALEY KALIL

“They say nice guys never win, but I strongly disagree. Nothing is more attractive than a humble, kindhearted man with an amazing sense of humor.”

Anyone who has already perused the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will no doubt recognize Haley Kalil.

The smoldering SI Swim rookie and wife of Houston Texans offensive tackle Matt Kalil is one of 16 breakout stars who grace the latest bikini annual.

But before Kalil was shot by top photographer Yu Tsai, the small-town stunner from Minnesota excelled in the academics, having graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a double degree in medical biology and psychology long before SI came calling.

“I studied biomedical sciences and psychology in college. I worked in the hospital and an immunology lab until Sports Illustrated Swimsuit held an open casting call on Instagram,” she tells Maxim.

“I submitted a video, and bam! My life was changed forever! I went from doing single cell suspensions in no makeup and a lab coat to shooting on the beaches of Africa for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.”

The future couldn’t be brighter for this brainy beauty. Read on to learn about Kalil’s celeb crushes, dream date, pervasive love of Taco Bell and more.

How can a man catch your attention?

A funny guy wins the girl every time. They say nice guys never win, but I strongly disagree. Nothing is more attractive than a humble, kindhearted man with an amazing sense of humor.

What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?

“Do you do karate? Because your body is KICKING.” I hate to say it, but I laughed.

How do you let a man know you’re interested?

If a woman is interested, you will know. She will want to spend time with you. She will want to text you back. She will want to tell you about her life. If she’s not taking the time to do those things…sorry man, she’s just not that into you.

Tell us about your ideal date.

I don’t like anything too fancy. I love just walking around NYC on a beautiful summer night talking about anything and everything. Maybe stopping at a little diner to eat French toast at 1 a.m. Throw in an epic escape room and I’m sold!

What about a man turns you on the most?

I think intelligence is sexy. Nothing is sexier than a man that can code an entire software update or solve a nearly impossible synthesis problem in organic chemistry.

When do you feel sexiest?

I feel the sexiest when I’m surrounded by the people I love. Whether that’s while I’m in a tight dress with some killer makeup or in my sweatpants stuffing Thai food into my face. I gain confidence from being surrounded the people who care about me…and confidence makes me feel sexy.

Who’s your biggest celebrity crush?

My male crush would be Ryan Reynolds. I mean, have you seen Deadpool? ‘Nuff said! The dude is funny as can be! And my female crush would be Angelina Jolie. She’s gorgeous, accomplished, and a total boss.

What’s on your favorite music playlist?

I’m such a stereotype, I listen to the “new releases” on iTunes music. Don’t judge me though…they’ve got some JAMS on there.

Do you have a favorite athlete or sports team?

Matt Kalil. He’s a beast. Best NFL player there is. Quite a babe, too!

What fashion brands do you like the best?

I don’t like spending tons of money on clothing because I’d much rather spend it on my HBO subscription and Postmates. So Forever 21 is my go-to for less expensive clothing that’s cute and fits well!

What’s your favorite meal?

Taco Bell. A chicken and cheese quesadilla with extra jalapeño sauce, two Chipotle Chicken Grillers, a soft-shell beef taco, cinnamon twists, and a large Sierra Mist. It’s heaven on earth.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the bedroom?

Sleep.

And what should a man never do in the bedroom?

There’s a lot of things you shouldn’t do in the bedroom. Don’t try to fry a chicken with a flame thrower. Don’t fill your bed with 800 ping pong balls. I mean, the list goes on and on…

Ha, we see what you did there. Have any sexy fantasies?

Eating Taco Bell in my pajamas while watching reruns of South Park. That’s about the sexiest thing I can think of.

Lastly, what’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Ordering hundreds of dollars of Postmates from a restaurant that literally right down the street because I don’t want to get out of bed.

For more, follow Haley on Instagram.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Sildenafil Citrate

Viagra Makes History

Viagra (sildenafil) is one of the most widely-known prescription drug names on the U.S. market. Often dubbed “the little blue pill”, Viagra (sildenafil) was the first phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor approved to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is a common sexual problem for men and its frequency increases with age.

It is estimated roughly 30 million men in the U.S. and over 100 million men worldwide suffer from ED. A large U.S. survey determined about 50 percent of men 40 to 70 years of age experience some degree of ED.

 

The Unexpected Discovery of Viagra

The discovery that sildenafil could lead to an erection was an unplanned event. The sildenafil compound was originally developed by Pfizer for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (chest pain due to heart disease). During the heart clinical trials, researchers discovered that the drug was more effective at inducing erections than treating angina. Pfizer realized ED was an unmet medical need and a major opportunity for financial gain.

In 1998, the FDA approved Viagra, the first oral treatment for erectile dysfunction, under a priority review.

 

Quick Success: The FDA-Approval of Viagra

At the time of its approval, Viagra had the fastest initial sales growth following its launch of any prescription product, reaching 2008 sales of close to $2 billion. Pfizer promoted Viagra and ED awareness via direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, which prompted men to seek medical advice and a prescription from their doctors.

For many men, the stigma and embarrassment of talking to their doctor about ED has declined since the introduction of Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors.

 

The Impact of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

ED, or the inability to achieve and maintain an erect penis for sexual function, can lead to performance anxiety, a negative impact on self-esteem and personal relationships, and even clinical depression.

In a survey published in BMJ, 62 percent of men reported a decline in self esteem, 29 percent reported a negative effect on a relationship, and 21 percent reported that their relationship had ceased due to ED. For many men, the inability to perform adequately during sex directly affects their feelings of masculinity.

 

What Causes ED?

Age alone is not a risk factor for ED, but underlying health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, chronic alcohol or drug abuse, certain medications, and injuries can lead to impotence. Any condition that may restrict blood flow to veins over time, like smoking, can lead to ED.

Medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease or Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue build-up in the penis) may cause ED. Mental health issues can take their toll, too–depression or stress can result in loss of libido. Erection failures may occur repeatedly in men who experience performance anxiety due to ED.

 

Which Medications Cause ED?

Many medications have impotence or sexual dysfunction listed as a side effect. A medication review should be performed by a health care provider to determine if any prescription drug treatment may be contributing to symptoms. Medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, certain antihistamines, antipsychotics, drugs used for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), and anti-HIV drugs may lead to ED.

If you regularly experience sexual function or ED problems, contact your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

 

Just the Basic Facts: How Viagra Works

Viagra works in response to sexual stimulation to increase the blood flow to the penis leading to an erection. Viagra does not result in an erection without sexual stimulation. When a man is aroused, muscles in the penis relax to allow this greater blood flow. Viagra helps to elevate the levels of a substance that causes the tissues to relax.

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors like Cialis, Levitra, Stendra and Staxyn treat ED, but do not directly increase a man’s sexual desire. However, knowing that one can perform better in bed may indirectly boost libido.

 

What’s the Safest Way to Take Viagra?

Viagra (sildenafil) is taken by mouth usually as a 25 or 50 milligram (mg) tablet one hour before sexual activity. However, Viagra may be taken within a range of one-half hour to four hours before sex. The dose may be adjusted based on doctor recommendations, but it should not exceed 100 mg per dose or be taken more than once per day. A physician will prescribe your specific dose.

Have your pharmacist check for drug interactions, too. Men who use nitrates (such as nitroglycerin or isosorbide) should never use Viagra or other PDE5 inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra, Stenda, or Staxyn) due to severe, possibly fatal hypotension (low blood pressure).

 

Does Viagra Have Side Effects?

In general, the most common side effects with PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra are mild and short-lived. Headache, flushing, heartburn, vision problems, nausea, and dizziness may occur. Report a sudden hearing or vision loss to your healthcare provider immediately. An erection lasting more then 4 hours (priapism) is a rare event, but if it occurs get emergency treatment.

Be sure to review Viagra drug interactions and precautions with your healthcare provider prior to use. Your dose of Viagra may need to be adjusted based on other drugs you may be taking.

 

Other Options for Erectile Dysfunction

The simplicity of taking an oral tablet for ED has revolutionized ED treatment. However, PDE5 inhibitors may not work in about 30 percent of men. It is important for men to know that there are other options are available for ED. Penile self-injection (Caverject), transurethral suppositories (MUSE), vacuum-assisted erection devices, and surgical penile prostheses are solutions that were used prior to Viagra, and are still available today.

These options may be useful for some; however, for many men they can be complicated, painful, and more expensive. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all options.

 

What is Low T?

Media advertising has dramatically, and sometimes sensationally, increased the awareness of “Low-T” or low blood testosterone (also called androgen deficiency). Typically, a man’s testosterone level is considered low if it’s below 300 nanograms/deciliter. Men with low blood testosterone levels may suffer from a lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), brittle bones (osteoporosis), low muscle mass and higher fat accumulation. However, a recent study noted that testosterone therapy is not an appropriate therapy to treat ED without other symptoms of low T.

Testosterone therapy, whether it be by injection, gel, skin patch, spray or lozenge is the usual treatment to raise testosterone levels, but this is not always done in men over 60 years. Experts have stated that testosterone replacement could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in some men. Plus, older men who take testosterone replacements will need to have regular prostate cancer screening tests.

 

Viagra: But at What Cost?

Many insurance companies will not pay for Viagra anymore. This may be one reason why consumers turn to Internet purchase. But much of the advertised Viagra on the Internet is counterfeit, and may even contain dangerous and toxic drugs. To help combat the counterfeit market, Pfizer now offers online Viagra prescription orders and home delivery through licensed pharmacies. Just check put their website at Viagra.com or call Call 1-888-4-VIAGRA (1-888-484-2472).

Another option is to talk to your doctor about using the generic form of Revatio (sildenafil), approved for pulmonary hypertension. It’s the same drug that’s in Viagra, just at a slight lower dose. Just like Viagra, you’ll need a prescription, but the cost savings are significant. Generic Viagra isn’t expected to hit the US market until December 2017.

 

Counterfeit Viagra: A Dangerous Practice

Viagra has become the victim of Internet fraud due to its rapid success and famous name. According to Pfizer, 80 percent of the top 22 Internet sites that came up in search results for the phrase “buy Viagra” were selling counterfeit pills.

Products sold as “natural” or “herbal” Viagra claim to enhance performance; however, these illegal products have not undergone FDA review or approval. Fraudulent Viagra products contain unknown chemical ingredients that may pose a serious health risk.

 

Will Viagra Be Approved For Women?

More than 50 million women experience some type of sexual dysfunction. Studies looking at Viagra in women have theorized that sildenafil could increase genital blood flow and boost arousal. However, most studies have found a limited beneficial effect of Viagra for women. Lack of sex drive in a woman is a complicated process, often magnified by stress, hormonal changes, or lack of intimacy.

However, medications to help boost libido in women are becoming available. Addyi (flibanserin) was approved in August 2015 to treat low sex drive — generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in pre-menopausal women. Osphena (ospemifene), as well as Intrarosa (prasterone) are available for vaginal dryness and dyspareunia (painful intercourse) that can interfere with sex in menopausal women.

 

When Where There Be a Generic Viagra?

At least one generic PDE5 inhibitor will be available in December 2017, when sildenafil (generic Viagra) becomes available from Teva Pharmaceuticals. However, Teva will be the only manufacturer distributing generic Viagra until 2020, and it’s generic price is not yet known. Other generic PDE5 inhibitors should be on the market around this same time, in 2017 or 2018, when Levitra and Cialis are projected to lose patent.

In 2015, many insurance companies stopped covering payments for several PDE5 inhibitors, but there still may be at least one on their formulary, so check with your insurance directly to determine price.

 

 

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When Dating Someone You’re Friendly With, Remember These 9 Things

I’m friendly with a lot of people, and it’s mostly fun. Sometimes, when I get worn out on Tinder (two seconds into swiping), I think “why not just date someone I already know?” Surely I could scour my social networks for one person who wanted to go on a date with me (don’t argue with me on this, please, I beg you). There are a few things to keep in mind before dating someone you’re friendly with, and I made a list of them for you.

While I love the idea of going on a date with someone I’m already friendly with, I know it comes with a few extra things to think about. Dating someone you’ve never met before also has its challenges, to be fair. But do keep in mind that you already know the other person, so you already know some facts and info about them that you’ll have to be mindful of as you date them. You’re friendly with them for a reason, which is that you like them as a person, so don’t be afraid to get involved with someone you’re friendly with (if that’s what you want).

 

1. YOU MIGHT RUN INTO THEM A LOT

Maybe they’re in your circle of friends. Maybe you see them regularly at work or the gym or your favorite bar. You’ve become friendly with them because you’ve met them at least a few times before, so you could run into them again. If you’re afraid of seeing someone you’re dating (or have dated) in the real world, keep this in mind before dating someone you’re friendly with.

2. YOU ALREADY KNOW FACTS ABOUT THEM

When you date someone who you’re already friendly with, there’s a lot about them you already know. You might know where they’re from, what they do, and — possibly — who they’ve dated before. This is all totally fine and normal, but it does mean that the first date isn’t a get-to-know-you as much as a let’s-make-conversation, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when dating someone you’re friendly with.

3. YOU COULD LOSE A FRIEND

Breakups happen, and if the person you’re interested in dating is a friend, you do run the risk of that friendship ending. Of course, many couples break up and remain friends (and there’s no guarantee you’ll break up), but adding another layer to the friendship (a romantic layer, like the middle of a red velvet cake) does mean the underlying friendship could be at risk later on.

4. THEY MIGHT TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS

They might be friends with a lot of your friends, which is how you got to know them in the first place. This doesn’t mean they’ll tell your friends anything bad about you, but they might casually slip to your friends that the two of you are seeing each other. If you’re on the private side and like to wait a bit before sharing things with your friends (and the mutual friends you have might not be your closest friends), this is something to keep in mind.

5. YOU HAVE TO SHIFT HOW YOU SEE EACH OTHER

You’ve seen each other in a friendly way before. Maybe you’ve had a little crush (hence why you’re now starting to date), but it hasn’t yet become romantic. The two of you will have to shift your perceptions to see each other as potential romantic or sexual partners (which is totally doable, it’s just something to think about beforehand).

6. YOU COULD LEARN YOU DON’T LIKE THEM

I’ve had guys I’ve seen around and exchanged a few sentences with every now and then, and I would have told you I had crushes on them. Sometimes, a small interaction is all it takes. But sometimes you have a longer interaction and realize they’re not actually someone you want to date. Try to consider this if you’re going to start dating a person you’re already friendly with — it’s OK for your feelings to change, but it might be easier if you’re ready for it.

7. THEY MAY HAVE IDEAS ABOUT WHO YOU ARE

When you go on a first date, you might want to feel like you have a clean slate. If you’re already friendly with the other person, they could have a preconceived idea about who you are, such as assuming you’re very serious when they just haven’t seen your silly side yet, and this can change the date. As long as the two of you are open to getting to know each other in an honest sense, this won’t be an issue, but it’s something to think about beforehand.

8. THEY MAY ALREADY HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Is your Instagram or Twitter private? Mine isn’t, but many times, I’ve wished it were. I don’t love going on a first date with someone who’s seen my “content” (dog pics, poop occasionally included) ahead of time, but it happens. If you’re friendly with someone, you might be following each other on all social media platforms, private or not. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just more information that they know about you that may or may not represent the real you, so keep it in mind before the date.

9. YOUR FRIENDS COULD HAVE AN OPINION ON IT

My friends sometimes have an opinion on who I date based strictly on a few Tinder screenshots, so if I go out with someone they already know, they’re pretty ready to chime in. This can be really helpful because if they like the person, they’ll be extra supportive, but you should try to be ready for other outcomes too.

Dating someone you’re friendly with can be a really fun experience. You’re friendly because you like each other’s vibe and maybe you have some hobbies in common that cause you to run into each other. As long as you can put aside preconceived ideas about who the other person is and accept them for who they are, you can have a great experience. So don’t be afraid put down the apps and go have a blast with someone you already know!

 

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7 Women Who Caught Feelings For Their Best Friends Revealed What Happens When They Confessed

Are you ready for some majorly juicy stories? Well, seven women who caught feelings for their best friends just shared all of the details on Reddit AskWomen. From Harry and Sally to Jim and Pam, we’ve got plenty of examples of best friends falling in love to look to on TV and in movies. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that it’s one of our favorite romantic narratives. But, obvi, TV and movies don’t always accurately reflect real life. IRL, developing feelings for your best friend can be way more complicated. What if they don’t feel the same way and your friendship is ruined forever? What if they do feel the same way but you just don’t vibe as a couple? What if they start dating someone else and it slowly crushes your soul piece by piece?! You get the picture. It’s daunting. You’re not guaranteed a happy ending like the characters in your favorite shows and movies.

But there is one universal truth that you can take comfort in if you’re in love with your best friend: You’re not alone. Plenty of people find themselves falling in love with their best friends. And, luckily, a few of them shared their stories on Reddit’s AskWomen thread. Read along below as seven ladies share what happened when they started developing feelings for their best friends.

 

Oh god, yes. I was desperately in love with my best friend for ages. I thought he felt the same and was also just too timid to say anything. Then one night we’re out and super drunk already and he pulls me away from the crowd and says he has to tell me something important. I was convinced that he’s about to tell me he loves me, but he was just beating around the bush for a while. I had it and decided to make the first step. I was just about to get up and kiss him when he finally says what he wanted to say and tells me that he’s gay. So that was that.

THEY WERE NEVER ABLE TO GET THE TIMING RIGHT.

Bustle on YouTube

I have and it didn’t turn out well. They actually admitted they had feelings for me first, but by the time I realized I felt the same things had changed between us. I told him, but I had screwed it up again and he didn’t feel the same way. We’re friends still, but he’s dating someone else which is nice since he seems happy with her.

More than anything though I regret taking so long to realize and so long to make a move. I wonder if things would be different if I did something sooner. So if you have feelings for your friend just go for it OP.

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How To Ask A New Partner If They Have An STI (Without It Being Weird) – Part 2

Don’t just ask “have you been tested?”

Unfortunately, the tried and true method of asking “have you been tested?” doesn’t always give you complete information, since not everyone gets the same STI tests, not all STIs can be tested for, and many people are confused about interpreting their results.

It doesn’t need to be a great deal more complicated than that, though. Just follow the question up with some specifics, Manduley said.

“Some of the information you should consider asking is what STIs they were tested for, what the results were (and if anything came back positive, if they completed treatment for it), when that last test date was, and what protection they’ve used in sex since then.”

Don’t think, “we’re using a condom, we’re good!”

If you’re using a condom, you’re playing it a lot safer than those who rely on the pullout method alone. But just because you slipped on a rubber doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. (Sorry!)

As Huizenga told us, condoms alone are effective at preventing STIs that are transmitted through bodily fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, but they provide less protection against those that spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus (genital warts), genital herpes and syphilis.

He tells patients who are single or have multiple partners to get comprehensive screenings done on a yearly or biyearly basis.

That makes having the pre-sex talk so much easier; If you’ve been recently tested, you can offer up your own test results to normalize the experience or make your partner feel less shy about doing it themselves.

“When partners fully disclose STD status ― even exchanging recent lab testing ― it provides clear informed consent on multiple levels,” Huizenga said. “In the spirit of honesty, equality and transparency, I think both partners should exchange this information prior to intimacy.”

If the person says, “I’m not sure,” aim for the highest level of protection you can manage.

If your partner’s response to questions about STIs is along the lines of, “hmm, I’m not sure,” protect yourself as much as possible. That might mean postponing sex ― that can be sexy in itself ― or using as many relevant barriers and forms of protection as possible. Maybe you don’t go “all the way,” but hey, some of the way is still loads of fun.

“If they’re not sure, you might use internal condoms, external condoms, dental dams, gloves or have sex that offers a lower risk profile ― something that limits fluid exchange and limits contact between mucous membranes,” Manduley said.

If this is a more long-term thing, Manduley suggests getting tested together. But in the heat of the moment, keep your response casual and relaxed.

“You can say something like, ‘thanks for telling me!’ and then segue into another activity,” Manduley said. “For example, ‘Well, since you’re not sure, I don’t think you should come in my mouth, but I would love it if you came on my chest,’ or ‘Since you’re not sure, let’s play it safe this time and only use our hands. I can’t wait to touch you.’”

Take a deep breath: This conversation is probably going to go over better than you think.

This is obviously a heavy, potentially uncomfortable topic, but if handled with casualness and tact, it’ll probably play out a lot smoother than you expect. (Plus, major brownie points for being so sexually responsible.)

“Shockingly, I have had patient after patient tell me how surprised they were about how well received these open pre-sex talk was by prospective partners,” Huizenga said. “Counterintuitively, it didn’t kill the mood, it actually made them more, not less, sexually desirable.”

 

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How To Ask A New Partner If They Have An STI (Without It Being Weird) – Part 1

We get it: No one likes to talk about sexually transmitted infections. If things are getting hot and heavy, nothing tosses a bucket of cold water over a sexual encounter quite like saying “STI.”

But in the age of super gonorrhea, it’s super important we have these conversations. Last year, we heard the first reports of super gonorrhea, a strain of the disease so gnarly it’s resistant to the antibiotic drugs usually prescribed to treat it. Oh, joy.

That’s not the only STI you have to worry about. The U.S. has the highest STI rates in the industrialized world, and it’s only getting worse. Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, surpassing the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August. (FYI: We’re using STI here as opposed to STD because not all sexually transmitted infections turn into a disease.)

“It’s scary because a shockingly high percentage of Americans know little, if anything, about STDs and STIs,” said Robert Huizenga, a physician and the author of “Sex, Lies and STDS.” “Few people have any idea what early STD symptoms to look out for, even if symptoms do occur, because many STDs present with no symptoms.”

How are we going to get our abysmal STI rates down if we don’t feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about our sexual health with our partners?

Part of the blame for the uptick in STIs lies in our incredibly lax use of contraceptives. A 2017 National Health Statistics Report found that condom use in the U.S. has declined among sexually active young people, with many opting to use the pullout method instead.

The rate of men who say they use withdrawal ― pulling out a partner’s vagina before ejaculating ― increased from about 10% in 2002 to 19% by 2015, according to a recent study published by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Half-assed methods of protection aside, we’re also dealing with a lack of transparency and conversation about STIs. How are we going to get our abysmal STI rates down if we don’t feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about our sexual health with our partners?

Ideally, your new S.O. or hookup buddy will alert you to any hiccups in their sexual history before you have to bring it up. (If you have an STI, we wrote a very helpful primer on how to tell your partner about it, which you can read here.)

But in the event that they don’t, it’s 100% worth speaking up. Below, sexual health educators share their best advice on how to broach the subject in a way that isn’t a total mood killer.

Ideally, bring it up before things start to heat up.

If you have the luxury of time ― say, you’ve been dating this person for a bit and have yet to have sex ― have this convo before you get naked. Avoid any potential awkwardness by employing the “sandwich method” of communication: Share something positive about your budding relationship, then share something you’re worried about (cough, cough STIs), then follow it up with another positive.

“Maybe you start by telling them how much you like them,” said Janet Brito, a psychologist and sex therapist at the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Honolulu. “Then, say something like ’I really value our relationship, and want to take it to the next level. Do you, too?’”

If they agree, say something like, “Great … I’m a little nervous about having this conversation, but maybe we should talk a little bit about our sexual health, like when was the last time we each were tested?”

Don’t end the train of thought there, though. “Tell them, ‘The last thing I want to do is to kill the mood in the moment. I find you really attractive and really want to do this.’” Brito suggested.

At this point, hopefully, the rest of the conversation will be smooth sailing.

Go into the conversation with this mindset: STIs are incredibly common, so avoid shame-filled language when you bring it up.

If we talk about STIs at all, it’s usually as the punchline for a stupid joke or headlines about “herp alerts at Coachella.” The jokes and puns not only stigmatize those with STIs, they downplay how incredibly common the infections are.

More than one in six adults in the U.S. are living with herpes, according to the CDC, and one in two sexually active persons will contract an STI in their lifetime.

With that knowledge, broach the conversation without using shame-filled language, said Boston sex educator Aida Manduley.

“Asking your partner ‘are you clean?’ shames people for getting infections,” she said. “Regardless of why or how they got infected, STI stigma is terrible for public health.”

Instead, Manduley recommends saying something like, “I’m so ready to have sex with you, and I want to figure out what type of protection we should use before we start!”

“These conversations don’t have to be super serious and sterile,” she said. “Feel free to make them juicy, weird, funny, whatever works for you. And if you’re nervous, practice beforehand so it sounds more natural in the heat of the moment.”

 

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Tinder Dating Among Teens: When Swipe-Right Culture Goes to High School – Part 2

Terry downloaded Tinder when she was 17 and it was legal to be on the platform. She was looking to have “random, meaningless sex” after a bad breakup. Like the others, Terry, who is now 22, says that all of her friends were on the app. Unlike them, she listed her real age and ultimately regretted it. Before she abandoned the apps, she had run-ins with men who lied about their age or who wanted to pick her up and take her to an undisclosed location.

“I had horrible experiences,” she says. “I had a lot of guys that wanted to like, pick me up, and meet me in a place that was secluded, and didn’t understand why that was weird or just expected sex right off the bat.”

Terry’s most concerning experiences involved older guys who said they were 25 or 26 and listed a different age in their bio. “Like, why don’t you just put your real age?” she says. “It’s really weird. There are some creeps on there.”

Although there’s no public statistic on fake Tinder profiles, avoiding Tinder scams and spotting fake people on the app is fundamental to the experience of using itAdults know this. Teens don’t. Many see a fun app for meeting people or hooking up. And it’s easy to feel concerned about these minors posing as legal adults to get on a platform that makes it so easy to create a profile — real or fake.

Amanda Rose, a 38-year-old mom and professional matchmaker from New York, has two teenage boys, 15 and 17, and concerns about the way that social media and tech has changed dating. To her knowledge, her kids haven’t dated anyone they met online and they don’t use Tinder (she has the passwords to all of her kids’ phones and social media accounts.) But she’s also had many talks with them about the problem with tech and her concerns.

“We’ve had the talk that the person they are talking to might be posting pictures that are not really them,” she says. “It could be someone fake. You have to be really careful and mindful about who you interact with online.”

Amanda’s also concerned about how much teenagers — and the adult clients with whom she works — resort to the digital in order to repair their relationships or remain connected to the world.

“I’ve noticed, even with my clients, that people go to texting. They don’t pick up the phone and call someone. I talk to my kids about that: about how important it is to actually, pick up the phone and not hide behind a phone or a computer screen,” she says. “Because that’s where you build relationships.”

If you just stay behind text messages, Amanda says, you’re not going to build stronger relationships. Even when her oldest son talks about issues with his girlfriend, she tells him: “Don’t text her. You need to step outside if you don’t want anyone to hear the conversation and pick up the phone and call her.”

Still, certain teenagers who ventured onto Tinder have positive stories. Katie, who asked to be referred to by her first name only for privacy, went to an all-girls Catholic school and had a conservative family. She used the app as a way to figure out her sexual identity and credits it for helping her navigate a new and burgeoning sense of self in a way that didn’t leave her open to hostile teenagers, school staff, or disapproving family members.

“I was not out. I was very, very in the closet,” she says. “It was one of my first ever moments of letting myself kind of even acknowledge that I was bisexual. It felt very safe and private.”

On Tinder, Katie says she saw women from her high school looking for other women. Seeing this helped her feel less alone.

“I was 16 and had no idea that they felt that way,” she says. “They didn’t know I felt that way.”

Katie downloaded Tinder at a volleyball tournament. She was with a bunch of friends. They were all women and all straight.

“I was dealing with having queer feelings and not having anyone to talk to about it. I didn’t feel like I could actually talk to anybody, even my close friends about it at that point. So, I kind of used it more to just figure out what being gay is like, I guess.”

Her experience was freeing. “It didn’t feel threatening to flirt with women, and just figure myself out in a way that involved different people without having to feel like I exposed myself to people who would be unfriendly toward me,” she says.

Katie’s story is both unique and not unique. The trend of queer people using dating apps to enter relationships is well-known. Twice as many LGBTQ+ singles use dating apps than heterosexual people. About half of LGBTQ+ singles have dated someone they met online; 70 percent of queer relationships have begun online. That Katie got on the app when she was 16 is maybe not typical, but she found her first girlfriend on the app, and within a few years, came out to her family. Being able to safely explore her bisexuality in an otherwise hostile environment without coming out publicly until she was ready, Katie says, was “lifesaving.”

To find love and acceptance, one must put themselves out there. For teenagers, those whose lives are basically based around understanding and seeking acceptance, this can be an especially daunting prospect — especially so in an age when digital communication is the norm. So why not jump on Tinder, which requires one-minute of setup to help them sit on the edge of  — or dive directly into — the dating pool?

“There’s that whole thing about not looking like you’re trying, right? Tinder is the lowest effort dating platform, in my opinion. Which also makes it harder to meet people,” says Jenna. “But it doesn’t look like you’re trying hard. All of the other ones don’t seem like that.”

Still, while stories like Jenna’s and Katie’s highlight how the app can provide a useful outlet of self-acceptance, neither young woman used the platform as intended. As Tinder seems to suggest by it’s tagline, “Single is a terrible thing to waste,” the app is for those looking for sex. Fostering connections may be more bug than feature. It’s not reassuring that the best stories about teens using the platform tend to emerge from edge-case scenarios, not from the typical function of the app, which is designed as a sexual outlet, but may also condition its user to accepting certain types of sexual experiences.

“You don’t want industry to be the decider of teen sexuality,” says Dines. “Why would you leave it to a profit-based industry?”

That’s a profound question and not one teens are likely to dwell on. Teens will continue to experiment because, well, that’s what teens do. And if they don’t receive guidance from adults in their lives, their early experiences on platforms like Tinder will shape their approach to adult relationships going forward. More than anything, that may be the hazard teens face on Tinder: the morphing of their own expectations.

“You don’t want to leave it to the [profiteers],” says Dines. “We want more for our kids than that, no matter their sexuality.”

 

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