MORE BLOGS: Blurt | Stuck in VT | Solid State

Seven Days Blogs: Mistress Maeve

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Awkward Dating Moment #7217

Imagine for a moment that you're a single gal on a date with an uber-hottie who actually has relationship potential. You're sitting on your couch with him, getting to know each other — you have butterflies, you're wondering whether or not you'll get a kiss before the night is over. Then, a sound comes from the direction of your bedroom, which you immediately identify as your cat playing with something, pushing it around the floor and chasing after it. Before you can suss out what she's playing with, the cat bolts from your bedroom batting around a shiny piece of paper-like material. In horror, you realize — just as uber-hottie is bending down to pick up the object — that it is, in fact, a used condom wrapper. A Magnum condom wrapper, no less.

Welcome to my life.

Lesson learned: Pick up after yourself (and your friends).


Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of World AIDS Day. Though we should be working to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic more than one day per year, I do encourage you to take some time today to educate yourself and those around you about AIDS in today's world. Take a minute and think how long it's been since you've been tested — is it time? We've come a long way since 1988 — you can now get rapid HIV testing with no needles (results can take as little as 20 minutes).

You can also attend the World AIDS Day reception at the Firehouse Gallery on Church Street in Burlington tonight from 6pm-8pm. For a full listing of World AIDS Day events this week in Vermont, check out Vermont CARES (you can also find testing info here, too).

Playing it safe,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kitchen Confidential

Dear Mistress Maeve,

We're a heterosexual couple that is really into cooking and finds good food to be a big turn-on. Whenever we cook a meal together, we always flirt and have fun — especially when the extra-virgin olive oil makes an appearance. Something about that slick, viscous goodness pouring from the phallic bottle into the hot pan just gets our juices flowing. We've playfully rubbed it on one another in the kitchen, tasted it off each other's fingers. (It does give a delightful burning in the back of the throat reminiscent of other, more sexual, throat encounters.)

So, wise Mistress, we want to know: Is it safe to realize our fantasy and use our beloved olive oil as a sexual lubricant?

Popeye and Olive Oyl


Dear Popeye and Olive Oyl,

Sounds like you two have a very flavorful relationship! Kudos to you for cooking up new recipes in the bedroom, rather than serving lukewarm leftovers.

Unless you're the only cooks in your kitchen — meaning you're monogamous — I'm going to assume you're using condoms. Like oil and water, oil and latex condoms don't mix. Oil can degrade latex, rendering the condom unable to protect you against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. If you are using condoms but insist on alternative lubes, try a polyurethane condom — effective and oil friendly.

A host of online resources say it's OK to experiment with olive oil in the bedroom. However, have you ever heard the saying "Some fantasies are better left fantasies"? Olive oil can cause irritating allergic reactions and uncomfortable clogged glands and follicles — totally unappetizing. Perhaps you should continue lubing your food with olive oil, but stick with water-based lubricants for your most delicious parts.

Hot and slippery,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Parental Guidance Suggested

Dear Mistress Maeve,

My 52-year-old mother recently starting dating again after her 31-year marriage ended. I'm happy for her, but I'm also worried. In particular, I'm concerned that she doesn't understand the frightening realities of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

As her daughter, is it my place to educate her? If so, how do I make it less awkward? We've always had an open relationship, but this might be pushing it. Please help!

Dr. Daughter


Dear Dr. Daughter,

You're right to be concerned. My friends at the Vermont Committee for AIDS Resources, Education and Services say that a 2007 Vermont Department of Health report states, “Older Vermonters (50+ years old) accounted for a greater proportion of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2006-2007 (29 percent of all new diagnoses) compared to 2000-2001 (12 percent of new diagnoses).” With statistics like that, it's imperative that older at-risk adults receive accurate prevention information.

Vermont CARES also says that health-care providers may be less likely to test for HIV and other STIs in patients over 50, making it even more important that you talk with your mom. Tell her that you're happy she's dating again, but times have changed. Now is not the time to be shy with your mom — give her some condoms and info about HIV and other STIs, and encourage her to talk with her doctor. You're not asking her for details of her sex life; you're simply making her aware of the risks because you love her and care about her well-being.

If your mother confides that she's been engaging in risky activities, consider going for an HIV test with her — it could be a good bonding and educational experience for you both. Vermont CARES offers free, anonymous, rapid oral HIV testing. For testing times and locations, visit


Monday, August 25, 2008

Going for the Gold

Q: What do you get when you place 10,500 young, pique-performance athletes in an Olympic Village? 

The distribution of 100,000+ condoms.

As the 2008 summer games wrap up, apparently so will the athletes. According to a report on, UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) worked with Chinese and international Olympic officials to distribute 100,000 condoms and educational leaflets in the Olympic Village — up from the 70,000 distributed in Sydney.

Other reports indicate that Beijing's health bureau brought in an additional 400,000 condoms to be placed in the 119 hotels contracted by the Olympic Games.

I guess I better start saving up for a trip to Vancouver in 2010! Perhaps they should make sex an Olympic sport? Just think of the possibilities...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Get It Checked

Hello Mistress,

My girlfriend and I have been having sex for a few months now, and we are both enjoying it. I am writing to you to find a solution to a problem we have been having. When we have intercourse, it can be painful for her, whether I am two inches inside or fully in. I try to have her relax, but she tells me there is pressure and/or it's painful. I am not "huge," so it’s not like I am causing the pain (I hope). There are times when I can slide my finger in slightly, and she says it hurts. What is the cause of this? What can be done?

We try to have sex, but it never really lasts more than 10 minutes, due to the pain. I am plenty patient with her, but I want us to both be able to enjoy it. Please help!


Dear Jack,

Rest assured, you're not the one causing the pain. What I find interesting is that you're the one reaching out for help. Your lady clearly has a concerning issue, and I'm wondering why she's not seeking help.

While some intercourse pain can be easily remedied with more foreplay, lube or a switch of positions, her issue seems to be more severe. If she's having deep vaginal pain as well as pain closer to the vaginal opening, I strongly urge her to see a physician immediately.

The pain she's experiencing could be a number of things, from pelvic inflammatory disease to vaginismus — a more emotional condition that makes the muscles of the vagina spasm, often caused by prior sexual trauma. She could also have a sexually transmitted infection, so you need to keep yourself safe. If she won't go see a doctor, I advise you to think twice before continuing your sexual relationship with her.

Good luck,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dam It.

Dear Mistress Maeve,

Dentaldam I have just returned from my first STI and HIV/AIDS testing. During the very simple process, some informational handouts were provided to me. After reviewing one particular handout, I asked the doctor about the risks of giving oral sex to a woman — both for the receiver and the giver. She confirmed that giving women oral sex has an extremely low, if not negligible, risk. Assuming the doctor was correct, and the handouts were accurate in their omission of cunnilingus from the list of “risky behaviors,” what is the point of dental dams? And why would someone choose to use one?

Johnny Going-Down

Dear Johnny,

Congratulations on getting tested. Being screened for STIs can be intimidating, but it's one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your partners.
You're not alone in your curiosity about dental dams and practicing safer oral sex. This 6-inch square of thin latex seems like a mystery to most people outside the dental field, and I'll offer a couple reasons why: First, in a sea of safer-sex advertising for and literature on the condom, we barely ever hear about the dental dam. Second, in my experience, health practitioners vary in their opinions about the necessity of dental dams because cunnilingus carries a low risk of transmitting an STI.

But here's the simple fact: You can contract an STI from going down on a woman. For most STIs to be transmitted from genitals to mouth, both parties have to have open sores or cuts — unlikely, but not impossible. While the risk may be low, it's better to be safe than sorry — right?

While I am a know-it-all, I'm not a doctor. Check in with another doctor and get a second opinion. Until then, if you're not in a monogamous relationship where both parties have been tested — use a dental dam.


PS. You can get free dental dams at Vermont CARES and R.U.1.2!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dentata Deterrent?

To any men made uncomfortable in the shorts by yesterday's entry about vagina dentata — my apologies, because it's only going to get worse.

Img_1845jpgA reader dropped me an email about a product in development in South Africa called Rapex: The Anti-rape Condom. The device is fashioned like the female condom and is inserted into the vagina with an applicator (like a tampon). If a penis enters a vagina while Rapex is inserted, the product latches onto the intruding penis by microscopic barbs causing severe pain — and hopefully giving the victim enough time to escape. The barbs can only be removed successfully with surgery, alerting hospital staff and police.

South African blood technician Sonet Ehlers invented Rapex, and as you might imagine, she and her product are being intensely criticized. Opponents of the product say it would be better to have a visible deterrent, rather than a hidden device that is "vengeful" and "medieval." To her opponents, Ehlers says on her website, "A medieval device for a medieval deed." If production and distribution of Rapex moves forward, opponents also fear that women will use it to frame or injure unsuspecting men — ouch!

Above all else, education, enforcement and community involvement are the best rape deterrents — but what's to be done when these efforts fail women (especially in countries with astronomical rape statistics)? What do you think — is Rapex going too far? Take the poll and leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

With Great Sexual Power Comes Great Responsibility

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I had lunch with a dear friend last weekend, and she told me about the new guy she's been "dating." They've been seeing each other for about a month, but it's not serious. In fact, from what I can tell, it's pretty much a "booty call" situation. Being the good friend that I am, I asked her if they were using condoms. To my surprise, she informed me that they are not using protection. She said that she's on the pill, that she "feels comfortable with him," and that he told her he'd been "tested." I froze; I didn't know what to say. I am really worried about her, and I'm so mad at myself for not saying anything to her over lunch. What should I do?


Dear Lisa,

22711839You have every right to be worried; your friend is not being smart. I have an incredibly hard time believing that people still think they're immune to HIV — a virus that knows no race, class, age, sexual orientation or education level. Statistics say that an estimated one million people are living with HIV in the United States, and a staggering number of those infected do not know their status. We all need to be protected, especially if we're having casual sex.

Lisa, you need to have a chat with your friend. I know it's uncomfortable, but if she really is a "dear" friend, you're the best one to address this issue. Let her know that you want to talk to her about using protection because you love her and care about her future. She needs to know that one night of pleasure can lead to a lifetime of illness and regret. If HIV seems too abstract for her, remind her that herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HPV are also knocking at her door.

Unfortunately, for some people, it takes a scare like pregnancy or the tangible threat of an STD to make them realize they need to protect their bodies. I hope this is not what it will take for your friend to wake up and take care of herself. If you need further ammunition for your talk, check out Vermont CARES — Vermont's largest AIDS and HIV service and prevention organization. They're always willing to answer questions and offer support.

Good luck,

p.s. You can get FREE condoms at both Vermont CARES and the RU12 Community Center. I believe both places also offer lube, dental dams and female condoms. Protecting yourself can be expensive, and the nice folks at these organizations want to protect you free of charge. If anyone knows of other free condom resources, please leave me a comment.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Slippery When Wet

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I recently started sleeping with a new guy, and there's just one problem — he gets wetter than I do. When he gets excited, his penis leaks. I know guys have pre-cum, but his is extreme. I don't really mind it, except when we're having intercourse, he gets too wet and the condom slips off. I'm on the pill, but this is relatively new relationship, and I want to keep it safe until we become monogamous. Is this
normal, and how do we keep the condom from slipping without losing the mood?


Strategicintrofc_fc_picDear Chelsea,

Kudos to you for wanting to keep sex safe until you're monogamous, and double kudos for turning your man on so much that he gets wet! Most men secrete pre-ejaculatory fluid, most commonly referred to as pre-cum. The amount of pre-cum varies from guy to guy. In all likelihood, your new beau is fine, but he should check in with his doctor just to be sure. As far as the condom slipping, have you tried a non-lubricated condom? Lubricated condoms have lube on both the outside and inside — add your boyfriend's pre-cum, and you've got a slippery situation. Slide on a non-lubricated condom, add a little lube to the outside for your enjoyment, and that should take care of the slippage.

If that doesn't work, you can also try the female condom, which slides into the vagina prior to intercourse. With the female condom, he can get as wet as he wants to, and it shouldn't effect protection. But be warned, my friends at Vermont Cares tell me that the female condom is only 85% effective for protecting against pregnancy, HIV and other STDs, whereas the condom is holding strong at 99%.

Wet kisses,

Friday, October 13, 2006

What was he thinking?

220pxaviatbaldwin_3Have we learned nothing from over two decades of HIV? In a completely infuriating interview with Howard Stern this week, Alec Baldwin states his disdain for condoms. Stern, being a smart man, quickly steps all over Baldwin and praises the condom. Nice save, Howie.

This seems like a fine time to mention that both Vermont Cares and The Community Health Center of Burlington offer free, anonymous HIV testing on a walk-in basis. For hours and details, call Vermont Cares at 802-863-2437 or The Community Health Center of Burlington at 802-864-6309.

Have a great weekend. . .and play safe.

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that you can also get free, anonymous HIV testing at R.U.1.2 Queer Community Center in Burlington. Give them a call at 802-860-7812 for more details. Thanks for alerting me, Clark!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Latex No-nos

Dear Mistress Maeve,

My friends told me that massage oil could make a condom break. Now I'm scared to give my boyfriend a massage before we make love. Are my friends right?


You have smart friends, Sasha. Some slippery substances like massage oil, baby oil and body lotions can damage latex. You can get a more detailed list of latex no-nos on Planned Parenthood's website. Unfortunately, one of my personal favorites — whipped cream — is also on the list. So if you're like me and enjoy making a banana split out of your partner, be sure to clean up thoroughly before using latex for protection during intercourse and oral sex.

With a cherry on top,

Friday, September 29, 2006

Condom Kudos

I love it when club promoters think to provide condoms, dental dams, lube and other safer sex agents at their establishments. Let's be honest, when people are out drinking and dancing until all hours, hookups are bound to happen. If protection is readily available, it makes sense that people would be more likely to use it.

I attended a great party last night at a downtown Burlington bar with a bountiful supply of condoms and lube (I filled my purse — lube is expensive). While getting a martini at the bar, I overheard two young women dissing non-lubricated condoms. They couldn't fathom why anyone would want to use a dry condom. With all the fancy condoms on the market today, perhaps we forget why the classic non-lubricated condom is still so popular. A non-lubricated condom is great for oral sex safety. Use it on the penis during fellatio, or cut it up the side to make a dental dam for oral sex on her.

Non-lubricated condoms are also a lifesaver for women who have nasty reactions to lubricated condoms containing spermicide. By keeping a stash of dry condoms and your lube of choice, you can ensure a side-effect-free sexual experience.
Speaking of condoms, a friend of mine clued me in about a new product by Trojan.
This condom comes with a "soft ring powered by an ultra-light battery" that vibrates on the base of the penis. Even though the product is part of Trojan's Elexa line, designed with a woman in mind, my gay guy friend assured me that he and his partner enjoyed the product. I'm looking forward to trying it out. You can get yours here.

All Rights Reserved © SEVEN DAYS 1995-2010 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802.864.5684