Category: Slideshow

STD / STI April National Awareness Month – FREE testing

The abbreviated form of sexually transmitted diseases has been used for years to describe infections that are contagious. STI – sexually transmitted infections is actually the more accurate term, but it is still not in common usage. So the initials STD are used to focus on awareness this month to the sexually transmitted infections.

In Philadelphia you can get free testing at the Mazzoni Center for LGBT Health & Well-Being. Your sexually orientation is not taken into account if you are interested in their services. If you reside at a distance, google your town and find a center that might normally offer these services for a fee and perhaps they too are making an exception for the month of April.

Excerpts from the Mazzoni Center article on their free STD/STI testing.

April is STD Awareness Month: an annual observance to raise public awareness about the impact of Sexually Transmitted Diseases on the lives of Americans and the importance of discussing sexual health with your healthcare providers and sex partners.

It’s a good reminder of the importance of being “out” and open with your healthcare provider, since knowing about your sexual practices helps them know which screenings are most appropriate for you.

That being said, there are plenty of people who find it uncomfortable or inconvenient to visit their primary care doctor for an STD screening every three or six months.  That’s why we offer free, walk-in screening at theWashington West Project at 1201 Locust Street.  It’s a safe and comfortable place where you can get accurate information and have an open conversation with one of our counselors without the fear of being judged about your sexual history or behavior.

Why does this matter?  Because every year there are more than 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the U.S. By age 25, an estimated one in two sexually active young people will get one.  Contrary to some commonly held myths, you can get STDs through oral sex, and you may have an STD even if you don’t experience any obvious symptoms.  The only way to know if you or your partner has an STD is to get screened.

If you haven’t been in to see us at Wash West before, we thought we’d take the opportunity to answer some basic questions about the services we offer, and what to expect when you make a visit.

Who should get tested?

Anyone who is sexually active!  We recommend every three months if you are having sex with more than one partner; otherwise every six months is a good rule of thumb.  STDs are very common, and it only takes one sexual experience to get one.  While there are some warning signs to watch out for – such as itching, rash, sores, discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, and/or fever-like symptoms – it’s important to note that many STDs will have absolutely NO symptoms, so you can’t always tells by how you’re feeling, or the way someone else ‘looks.’  It’s worth repeating that the only way to know if you or anyone else has an STD is to get tested.

Don’t wait for someone else to recommend you get tested – if it’s been a while, make sure you come in!  Many health providers fail to ask questions about a patient’s sexual activity or behavior, so they don’t realize who may be at risk.

What should I get tested for?


Is There Such A Thing As Gay (or Straight) Porn?

At the Salon we have heard several heterosexual women read their homoerotic pieces and have had discussions regarding this new sub-genre for straight women. It is all about fantasy. Dr. Marty Klein has written an article addressing peoples concerns relating to their fantasies not matching their real-life desires.


…Adults find all sorts of fantasies and images sexy—and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with their real-life desires. That is, enjoying scenes of two men having oral sex doesn’t make a man gay. Similarly, enjoying looking at fictional scenes of sexual coercion (or fantasizing being raped) doesn’t mean a person wants that in real life.

To put it another way, what arouses us is only a small part of our sexual orientation. If you want to know if someone’s gay, straight, or bi, ask them who they have sex with (and who they want to have sex with in real life), not what videos they like to watch….

…It turns out that sexuality is more complicated than gay-or-straight. In 1948 Alfred Kinsey presented data showing that “the world is not simply divided “into sheep and goats,” and presented his 7-point Kinsey Scale of sexual orientation. These days, expressions like GLBTQQI remind us that a person’s sexual orientation is a movie, not a photograph—behavior can change over time. Curiosity and experimentation can take us in unexpected (even, sometimes, boring!) directions. In that sense, we’re all “queer,” and potentially or actually “questioning.”…

Read Entire Article:

Talk and Q&A on ‘Queer’ lead by self identified queer erotica author Sam Rosenthal at the next Erotic Literary Salon, April 16th, 7:15-7:45.

Sex – plorations in Fiction – “Rye” by Sam Rosenthal – Time Out Chicago

The featured presenter at the Erotic Literary Salon on April 16th, will be Sam Rosenthal, author of “Rye” a queer erotic novel. He will also be discussing  the term ‘Queer’ followed by a Q & A. Below is an excerpt from the Chicago’s Time Out Magazine (Gay & Lesbian section) review of his new novel.

Sam Rosenthal

Remember when experimenting with your sexuality meant kissing another boy (or girl) after months (or years) of daring yourself to do it? Challenging your identity to see how open-minded you really were, to know if those homosexual or bisexual fantasies you’d secretly been having were things of substance or flights of fancy? Those days, like Crystal Pepsi, Melrose Place and the dance ballads of Jon Secada, are long behind us. They were called the ’90s.

In 2013, sexual exploration is far more than an awkward make-out session between college roommates (the kind where one is way too into it and the other is sheepishly playing along—we’ve all been there). Today, it’s more about how the individuals embrace, reject, typify or distort gender than where they might be putting their anatomy.

In his erotic novel Rye, author Sam Rosenthal delves into this gender-expanding sexploration through three primary characters: Matt, a middle-aged biological male with a heteronormative American upbringing; Rye, his elusive, biologically female but male-identifying, non-transgender long-distance lover who was primarily lesbian before meeting Matt; and Rain, the young catch-as-catch-can, gender-freewheeling biological female whose identity fluctuates with each of her and Matt’s kinky encounters. Of note: These characters are all polyamorous.

It’s a different world from where you come from.

Or is it?

Read More:

UPenn Sex Week

U of Penn has joined the ranks of Yale, Harvard, Brown University to name but a few. Great speakers, Rachel Kramer Bussel, who has read at the Salon and will be returning (keep posted) will be discussing erotica. Kali Morgan owner of Passional and supporter of the Erotic Literary Salon will be speaking Kink.

Excerpts from Article in “The Daily Pennsylvanian.”

Maiden Sex Week aims to stimulate discussion

The Hillel, SPEC and LGBT Center-sponsored week will include events on masturbation and asexuality


Sex is in the air.

With flyers sprouting up across campus displaying phrases like “everyone masturbates” and “having sex burns 300 calories per hour,” students have been gearing up for Penn’s first-ever Sex Week.

Starting on Tuesday, Penn Sex Week will aim to educate students about sex — as well as celebrate it. Modeled after similar programs at Harvard and Yale universities, the ultimate goal of Sex Week is to create campus-wide dialogue about a topic that some say has long been considered taboo.

“There’s so much people don’t know about sex, because they’re either denied the information or they’re too ashamed to seek it out,” said College junior Arielle Pardes, one of the co-chairs of Sex Week and a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist. “We’re moving the discourse away from just talking about hooking up over the weekend to more critical things, like criticizing the porn industry or talking about masturbation or writing erotica.”

The story of how Sex Week was made possible in the first place starts with Pardes.

In June 2012, Pardes wrote a DP column in which she called on Penn to host its own version of a Sex Week. Although she acknowledged that the University already has a number of sex education programs in place, she made the point that there has not yet been a forum for students to learn about sex in a more diverse, relatable way.

 Read entire article and schedule for the week: