Taking Charge of Your Fertility: Review

Posted: December 13, 2011 in feminism

I just finished rereading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, and I can’t sing its praises enough.  The book explains a woman’s monthly ovulation and menstrual cycle and shows how to chart and interpret your body’s signs that signal if you are fertile or infertile.  Whether you want to avoid or encourage pregnancy (or just learn more about your awesome body), that is great information to have at your disposal.  (Check out Planned Parenthood’s write up of this method here.)

Now, you’ll need to consult the book and/or a Fertility Awareness Method class for the full scoop; that’s beyond the scope of this blog.  I’ll just say that all you really need to do is take your waking temperature every morning and then check what type of cervical fluid you’re producing or not producing throughout the day.  (Optionally, you can check your cervical position to corroborate the other two signs.) It is NOT about looking at a calendar or some stupid beads to guess if you’re fertile or not.  It is NOT the “Rhythm Method.”

Analyzing these signs will allow you to predict if you are likely to ovulate soon or if you have already ovulated, and you can use that info to help you prevent or cause a pregnancy.  You chart this information and use it as you see fit.  If signs point to fertility and you don’t want to get pregnant, you can have non-pregnancy-inducing sexy fun, take a break from sexy fun, or make sure to use a barrier

Cover of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility...

Cover via Amazon

during sexy fun.  If you want to get pregnant, you can make sure you are optimizing your baby-making efforts.

This is information every woman should know!  Even if you don’t have sex with men, it’s cool to know what your reproductive system is doing down there.  Even if you are on hormonal birth control that stops you from cycling naturally, I still recommend you read this book, just to expand your knowledge of your body.  The author also wrote a book for teens called Cycle Savvy that I want to read.  I think that having clear, detailed, debunking information about my reproductive system would have been great during my own adolescence.  I will give it a read soon and let you know what I think.

I think that this kind of knowledge really is empowering.  Sure, the Catholic Church might encourage people to use a kind of fertility awareness they call “Natural Family Planning” since they think birth control is a sin and all, so I know that the whole idea of fertility awareness bit might put some of my Radigans on edge, but don’t fret.  First of all, the book isn’t an anti-birth control diatribe; Weschler is a cool woman who knows her stuff, not a religious fanatic.  Plus, knowing what’s going on in your body each month is a good thing, and you can use that information however you want to!

Caveat: Safe (or safer) sex rules still apply, of course.  Protect yourself from STDs by using condoms.  This method is best for monogamous couples with no STDs.  This method isn’t perfect; people still get pregnant on it sometimes.  Check out a comparison different types of birth control here.


Image via Wikipedia

I stumbled across this idea from an old forum discussion at Atheist Nexus, and I think it’s so simple in its brilliance.  The next time that you reserve a hotel room, ask that you have a “religion-free” room, i.e. one that doesn’t contain a Bible in the bedside drawer.  It’s an easy, simple request to make, and it’s a great way to nudge people into a thinking direction.
“I’d like a religion-free room, please.”  Simple.

Cover of "The Female Eunuch"

Cover of The Female Eunuch

Please help me create a rad reading list for fledgling Radigans! I want to create a tab/page with a suggested reading list for people on the verge of a political awakening who stumble across my page. Suggest works that personally challenged you or led you to some sort of new awakening. Fiction and non-fiction, ancient and contemporary – everything’s welcome.

Here are my first suggestions, off the top of my head:

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
The Better World Handbook by Ellis Jones, Ross Haenfler, and Brett Johnson
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

I’m sure you have better ones, so submit them in the comments!  Websites, blogs, artists, musicians, festivals, and so forth are also welcome, though I’m keeping the page limited to books for now.

Universe Closed

Life is meant to be lived. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly. We only get one shot here on this crazy planet, and we owe it to ourselves and our fellow earthlings to make our one shot count.

Maybe there is no point to all of this. In the grand scheme, we’re just a bunch of chunks of carbon and water in the vast universe. There is no grand purpose, fate, destiny, karma, or any other grand schemata that will make meaning for us. We have to make our own meaning.

In our day to day choices, in our own ways, in our outrageous acts and everyday rebellions, in our words, in our purchases, we make meaning. We craft our purpose daily. It doesn’t just happen; it has to be sought after and fought for.

Start a feminist book club. Protest outside your local town hall. Write a manifesto. Go vegan. Make music. Do something, anything, that shouts to the universe, “I’m here, and I matter!”

Make your mark on this world, Radigans. You’re going to die someday, maybe even today. Don’t waste a day in this beautiful and terrible world. Make every day count.

Dan Rottenberg recently wrote this post essentially blaming journalist Lara Logan for her gang rape.  She once wore a low-cut dress to a red carpet event, and Rottenberg posts that picture on his site, The Broad Street Review.  Since she once wore that dress, she apparently invited rape into perpetuity, as do all women and girls who show any skin.  Ever.  So, if you wore a low-cut shirt in America, you deserve to be gang raped in Egypt.  Apparently.

You can sign a petition at change.org to voice your disgust.  I did.

Great book! Moregasm: Babeland's Guide to Mind...

Image by rachelkramerbussel.com via Flickr

I had a great time reading Moregasm, Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning’s female-friendly how-to sex guide.  The owners of Babeland, a famously women-run and women-friendly sex toy shop, Cavanah and Venning detail all kinds of sexy fun, with consent and pleasure at the center.

What I loved

  1. Pictures.  The models in this book are fantastic; beautiful and not at all plastic-looking.  An occasional tattoo here and there.  A mix of man-woman and woman-woman couplings.  Lots of gear pics.
  2. Tone.  The book is playful and accepting.  Lesbian, bisexual, genderqueer, trans, and intersex folks are all addressed and welcome.  Advice are offered in the spirit of fun.
  3. Instructional content.  The basics of major sex acts, such as oral on a guy, oral on a gal, anal, and so on, are covered, with some hints and techniques I’ve never heard before.  The section on anal sex was particularly awesome, in that it focused on real pleasure for a woman, debunking myths from porn and the cultural milieu. 

What I disliked

  1. Products.  The writers own a sex toy shop, so they show lots of pictures of products, which is okay sometimes, but it definitely feels like they are trying to sell you stuff by the end.  For example, they show 3 types of lubricant in “The Lube Guide” and all 3 are Babeland brand.
  2. Lack of information.  The bases are definitely covered, but I was left wanting more.  I loved the conversational tone and the number of pictures, but they seemed to cover up a lack of breadth and depth.

I would highly recommend Moregasm to people interested in great sex, regardless of gender identity or orientation, though cisgendered women seem to be the target demographic.

Oprah goes vegan (again)!

Posted: January 31, 2011 in MeatlessMonday, vegan

Oprah and her staff went vegan for a week, and an episode about the experiment will air tomorrow.  This isn’t the first time that Ms. Winfrey has dabbled in veganism, and I am interested to see if this “challenge” will stick, with The Divine Miss O or with any of her staff.

I think that anything that encourages the American public to think about their complicity in the modern food system, especially animal agriculture.  I think that phrasing the experiment as a “challenge” might be misleading or off-putting to non-vegans, but it remains to be seen how the show portrays veganism.

So, I will be live-tweeting the entire show with my reactions!