Monday, January 5, 2009

My vagina monologue

Today is lesbian health day and so I feel the urge to share a little true vignette of my past and put an issue on the table...cervical smear tests. The jury was out medically as to whether I was eligible/ at risk and required a smear test as conventional penetrative sex was just not my thing. Penetrative sex is often seen as the predisposing risk factor for cervical cancer and is the golden question to determine eligibility or need in doctors surgeries.

Despite being sexually active (some may say sexually hyper-active but hey.. its all relative).... I have never been what the heteronormative milieu would class as sexually active: I just don't and never have slept with penis-bearers. Dildo bearers are indeed another matter. Furthermore although my exes resemble a United Colours of Benetton advert when it comes to ethnic diversity (read very diverse here), they all have one thing in common - fingers and hands and potentially scratchy nails. Plus we are all at risk from the HPV- Human Papilloma Virus as we can't be entirely sure of the sexual history of each of our partners and their partners...don't want to scare anyone but remember the L Word chart... well imagine HPV or STD risk written in brackets after each name).

My point, and I do have one (I keep it in my bedside drawer for the voyeueristic who like such details) is that, I was still at risk of injuring my cervix in sex, albeit slightly. Any flaw in the healing of this can predispose to cells multiplying more than they should and short.... cervical cancer. Moreover, lesbians are often under-represented in medical surveys and I fail to be convinced that only penetrative sex leaves one at risk of cervical cancer, I think the issue gets confused with an intact hymen frankly.

However, I must admit I found myself very backwards at coming forwards in getting a smear test, sexually active questions had always been likned to pregnancy risk and unless there is about to be another virgin birth, this just didn't apply to me. I know plenty of other lesbians who are worried about this too. Finally in my late twenties I found a GP (doctor) who was sympathetic and here and decided to give her my smear test cherry.... All was fine and I urge other women to get themselves checked just to be safe.

Here are my tips:

1. Ask for a female doctor, choose one you feel comfortable with.

2, Explain if you really aren't into people being "into" you, should you feel she is receptive enough for frank dialogue, and that you are nervous about the procedure.

3, Ask for a double appointment (this works in the UK) so there is less time pressure and things are more relaxed.

4, Remember if you change your mind and say stop then stop is what they must do (indeed a doctor continuing without consent is classed as Aggaravated Bodily Harm) remember it is your body and you are in control,

5. Perhaps don't follow my example and feel the need to break the ice when they're lubing up the speculum and say "What no chocolates or candlelight?"

(Glad my GP had a good sense of humour)

And, well, lie back and think of ... wine and chocolates.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Multi-choice = multi-indecision

I find decision-making difficult at the best of times.
I have just staggered from a multi-choice exam in philosophy and Norwegian: in short a case of compulsory, timed, decision-making at the worst of times.
One would think these things (multi-choice) are easy but no... I can overcomplicate the most simple of matters and have a tendency to do so. If I am given a choice of A to C, I convince myself that A is correct, but only to an extent, and the answer is indeed a synthesis of B and C.
This is how my exam time was spent:
1. Scribble my name
2. Write my name again, legibly this time
3. Take a deep breath in, scan questions and begin berating myself for my indecision, watch my hand making promises my head won't commit to. A kind of strange out of body experience.
4. Convince myself that blue pen is inadmissable and start to fret about what to do to remedy the situation.
5. Hand in exam paper
6. Realise have not yet exhaled, promptly do so.

Passed the tricky thing but am still feeling as if each tiny decision has enormous consequences. Thus, choosing what to have for dinner suddenly became a tightrope walk between neurotic over-analysis of kitchen cupboards and appetite and a compensatory complete capitulation of any decision.

Said exam had a fearsome four-hour resit in January for the hapless individuals who didn't make it through, meaning yet more revision and all through the hols: the festive season suddenly acquires the prefix "un". Any contemplation of which brought back my realisation as a very small child that we had no discernable chimney, swiftly followed by a graphological analysis of Santa's handwriting revealed he wrote just like my mum: someone cancelled Christmas. Anyhow, exam is over, passed, in the past. Christmas is back on the metaphorical (not to mention overpriced consumerist) cards, all I have to do now is to decide what to do with myself.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kitchen sink drama

Scene: Kitchen.

I am holding forth on something or other at the same time as trying to bat at a little fruit fly (or Drosophilia melanogaster as it likes to be known on formal occasions).

I suddenly fall silent, Lover, well Spouse, is unused to such silences and looks up enquiringly, no doubt wondering whether the issue could be a temporary lapse in her own hearing (rather like an ipod going down...has the song stopped abruptly or is it the earphones?)

I am standing very still in the kitchen still holding the fluorescent fly swat aloft, yet quite motionless.

"I just swallowed a fly."
I say.

Lover: "Thanks I've been trying to get that one for ages."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Strap-ons...with knobs on

In true Sapphic fashion, spouse and I were browsing in a large electrical DIY store lately. We were deliberating over men's watches (the type with so many knobs dials you never quite figure out their purpose). As any self-respecting lesbian will know, there's a lot to weigh up when choosing any kind of strap-on.

Lover (well, spouse) has always hated shopping, after prolonged periods she begins looking physically ill. Her shopping aversion becomes psychosomatisised and we are forced to squeeze past queues (lines) in an emergency exit. (They never have a not-bought-anything-but-not-stolen-anything-either official exit do they?) Anyhow, lover, well spouse, was looking distinctly peaky so I was trying to do my usual weighing-up at high speed (as a Libran, no decision can be entered into without an exhaustive evaluation of pros and cons- I take the Sherlock Holmes approach1 as a life philosophy rather than fictional detective strategy.)

To cut to the chase, something that now feels too late to do, but never mind I'll edit an earlier paragraph as a footnote and no-one will ever know...
Likely timepieces are draped in our hand, I am deliberating over price-quality proportionality issues and worrying they might break (a slang term for which is "go down" in the UK from where I hail) and venture...

" might go down2 on you."

Lover (quick as a flash):
"Well if it does that too I'm definitely getting it."

Sherlock Holmes/ Arthur Conan Doyle approach
Once you have exhausted the impossible, then all that remains is the probable. (Incidentally, this is how I consoled myself over a string of incompatible mating choices over a period in the '90s... a case of one's soulmate being the only other fish in the sea who is preoccupied with a piece of fluorescent seaweed or some other flotsam and jetsam of fate. One a similar note, when I first met Lover, well Spouse, it was love at first sight and one of the impulses I fought against was simply walking over and saying "You're late", I had after all been waiting my whole life in love with the promise of her while the only fish-in-the-sea-for-me was admiring seaweed somewhere else.)

Go down:
- Oral sex (munnsex in Norwegian, which always makes me smile, the term I meant although the Freudian slip is a valid one ;)
- To break (colloq.), according to the principles of Sod's law, and always as a result of Hobson's choice.

Buying Oxford Concise English Dictionary followed by an irresistible urge to labour every point (sotospeak)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pen Envy

There is no limit to the number of tools in a relationship.
Lover and I (well spouse now I am glad to say) were sat besides each other today writing: she, scribbling in earnest, me tapping away when I broke off and groped beside me for my pen. Said pen (one day old may I add) had wandered over to lover's side of the desk, I blamed a breeze or a hitherto undiscovered laws of physics (lateral gravity perhaps) and "reacquired it".

Only to feel irrationally irritated when after, having had to steal my own pen from within lover's reach in the first place, she had the audacity to steal it back. Imagine my surprise when she used same said pen to scrawl a little note: "Stop stealing my pens!"...I mused awhile over the inapplicability of "What's half yours, is half mine" marriage-clause when it comes to pens. Albeit fairly ineffectively, my reasoning marred by not being able to simultaneously fiddle with my pen.

Anyhow, I digress, closer inspection revealed that it was not in fact one of my possessions, nor had it ever been, lover had indeed been sat there merrily when I had swooped, in a case of jealous cleptomania, I had convinced myself that her pointy tool was mine somehow. Ironcially, the thief 'twas yours truly. Lost for words, and unable to articulate why I'd pounced on her tool, I found a substitute implement and scrawled my apology:
"Sorry! Pen.. envy !"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pillow waffle

I have often been accused of being both verbose and somewhat tangential, of striking off on my very own train of thought. Everyone likes to think that such verbosity is more a sporadic affliction than particularly pervasive or insiduous. Apparently not.

Take last night for instance, lover and I were lying together after earth shattering sex, engaging in post coital pillow talk. In my state of blissful contentment, I was mumbling and muttering away about something. More a state of free association than any ordered speech, indeed the word speech in itself could have been an understatement.

I broke off to fumble for some sort of accrouement on the bedside table and in doing so lost sight of my point (lingistically rather than phallically speaking).

"Where was I?" I asked lover bewildered for a moment.

"Carnivorous plants"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cunning Lingus

Today I found out that I have just passed my exams in Norwegian at Oslo university. These were at the highest level possible in a tiered system after I somewhat over performed in the entrance exam. Norwegian is a tricky language to get your tongue around and I spent the next few months feigning deficient hearing on the numerous occasions that lecturers posed their questions too rapidly. My early sneaky attempts of actually speaking English in a pesudo-Nordic accent which is actually best described as an approximation of a post coital muppet, were also soon uncovered.

The written exam was a mind boggling non-stop four hours, that's two hundred and fourty minutes, that's a sixth of an entire day! During which time I consumed a whole flask of espresso coffee (the exam began at half eight in the morning and thus got going before I could, which is rare.) Apropos coffee quantities, as any athlete will tell you one needs to consume vast amounts of liquid when sweating a great deal. Such a caffeine overload caused my my mind and body to go out of synch and I felt rather like I was dogging bullets in the Matrix.

In preparation for such a long exam, an inordinate amount of time went into planning my exam menu. Along with the other contestants, competitors, compatriots, condemned (what is the collective noun for the potential vic-tims/ vic-tors held captive in these circumstances?).. I would be captive throughout brunch and lunch. Anyhow I digress, a few fellow candidates appeared confused upon seeing yours truly seated with an array of snacks (including significant body parts of a cooked chicken), and nearly mistook my desk and its array of snacks for the buffet table and I, the buffet master. (You can never have enough finger food is my motto.)

As to the test itself, the unseen contemporary essay question had been a thorn in my side, unbidden I can waffle in impressive detail about a number of current affairs. Example essay questions however had enabled me to do nothing more than expose the depths of my ignorance in seeming every field chosen rather than showcase any linguistic abilities. On the day, the set essay question, roughly translated (something I now feel qualified to do) went as follows:

The recent gender neutral marriage law enables homosexuals to enter a marriage. Discuss its relevance and importance for homosexuals and equal opportunities as a whole.

Suffice to say, my ungrounded fears of performance anxiety left me, although this was to be done in a foreign tongue, a cunning lingus if you will. As any self respecting lesbian would...I took a deep breath and dived in.