A New Book Explores Breaking Up in a Whole New Way

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After written by Katherine Woodward Thomas, which was released on October 18, 2016. This is Woodward Thomas’ second book. I chose Conscious Uncoupling because I was curious about what Woodward Thomas’ thoughts on ending relationships “in a whole new way.” When the book arrived, I had to explain to my partner Dutch that this was for a book review project. It was this book or a book on 52 ways to meditate. Dutch laughed at my dilemma because I cannot sit still long enough to relax, little on meditate. Since I blog about sexual health and relationships, Conscious Uncoupling seemed to be the best book review option at the time. Woodward Thomas wrote her latest book because her own marriage was ending in divorce and she did not want to create bitterness or unpleasantness for her daughter as her divorce progressed and eventually finalized. Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist, backs up her suggestions on keeping a break-up civil with solid grounding in sociology and psychology. She uses splashes of positive quotations throughout her book, which I enjoyed. An example I particularly loved is, “Divorce becomes a holy moment when you choose to use...

New Book Tells the Jaw-Dropping and Inspirational Story of an Amputee

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Tough as They Come by retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne, and coauthored with Marcus Brotherton, which was released on October 27, 2016. The foreword is written by American actor and veteran advocate Gary Sinise. The cover of Tough as They Come states, “Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier’s story.” This description is essentially why I choose this book to review. I work in the medical field and was hoping SSG Mills’ personal story would help me find new motivation for helping my patients through their disease diagnosis and subsequent progression. This book certainly delivered motivation, by the truckload. Tough as They Come has been the best book I have reviewed thus far through the Blogging for Books program. “Best” in the sense of wanting to read the entire book without putting it down. I read every word on every page and did not want to be distracted in the process, which I cannot say about my previous book review choices. SSG Mills’ story is written from the heart and is humorous and gritty, even when recounting his darkest days after having...

Author Sheds Light on Clandestine Escapes from East Berlin

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by American author Greg Mitchell, which was released on October 18. Mitchell has written a dozen non-fiction books on United States politics and history of the 2oth and 21st centuries. Miller blogs actively about media and politics. His writing is on point and will hold the interest of the reader until the very end of the story. I chose this particular book because I wanted to learn more about the Berlin Wall, which existed when I was born and was removed when I was a little girl. I knew the clinical aspects of the Berlin Wall without knowing much about the personal perspective of those who experienced life behind the Berlin Wall. The Tunnels is a collection of accounts of real people who were desperately trying to flee East Berlin. They risked their lives, prison and Stasi torture to liberate themselves, their friends, family and even strangers from East Berlin. As the Berlin Wall became a more permanent structure that was increasingly difficult to cross, the liberators went underground and began tunneling under the Wall. Tunnels were physically dangerous and put the liberators at great...

Sexual Violence is Not a Laughing Matter

Sexual violence against women is not a joke. For a public figure, especially someone who is running for the highest political office in the country, to think sexual violence is humorous “locker room talk” is despicable as well as disrespectful to victims of sexual violence. “This was not just a lewd conversation, this wasn’t just lock room banter, this was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior,” First Lady Michelle Obama said in a speech on October 13. She summed up the situation very well and that started my thinking of the facts and data on sexual violence in America and what can be done to reduce its prevalence. Every two minutes an American is sexually assaulted and the majority of victims are between the ages of 12 and 34, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This set of statistics includes all cases of sexual violence. One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetimes, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This set of statistics just looks at rape and nothing else in the sexual violence crimes category. I’m not a sociologist, a criminologist or a police officer. I am not a judge or a prosecutor. I am a college-educated and real-life trained journalist. I am a human being with intelligence. I am a woman — one who has survived sexual assault. I’ve been thinking for a long time about sexual...

A New Book Explores 50 Fearless Women Pioneers in Science

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My second book selection is Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky,  which was released on July 26. I chose this book because, when I was younger, most of the books available about history and science focused primarily on the contributions made by men and subsequently overlooked the accomplishments made by women. To see a book devoted to women in science was very exciting. I jumped at the opportunity to review this book! When the book arrived, I was a little bit disappointed. The main font used in this book is less than the standard sized font used for most books, which can be a physical challenge for some readers. The second font used in Women in Science for the side elements is a different type-set and one I had to get accustomed to reading because the “e” is written as a backward “3.” In addition, I question the design choice to use bright colors such as fuchsia and yellow on dark grey backgrounds on the illustration pages as this is garish and headache-inducing. Black type set on the same oddly colored background colors was just slightly easier to read on the biography pages. Ignotofsky pairs an illustration with...

When a Penis is More Than a Penis

My partner Dutch and I were sitting down to watch restored films in our friend Todd’s backyard last night when someone in the audience asked for a bottle opener. Todd’s new neighbor, a young blonde woman, whipped out a bottle opener which was penis-shaped. Of course, I had to ask her where she found such an item. “Spain,” she said as she handed me the opener to admire. The opener was beautifully decorated wood with a lovely shape that fit in my hand perfectly. It was painted black with scrollwork in gold and white with the tip of the penis etched and painted gold. Quite simply, it was a beautiful piece of working art. Even Dutch agreed that our simple unadorned wooden shoe bottle opener from The Netherlands doesn’t compare to this woman’s penis bottle opener. A Google search revealed that her penis opener can be found in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain. Sadly, I cannot locate any history on why the penis is offered as a bottle opener — if it is a tourist money-maker or if there is a cultural reason. My internet search revealed that other penis bottle openers are sold as souvenirs in Bali and Greece as well. Travelers to Australia can purchase a furry kangaroo scrotum bottle opener. The genuine kangaroo balls are harvested and processed according to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service rules and regulations, meaning the kangaroo scrotums are harvested only after the kangaroos are killed for other reasons, such as for meat consumption. Visitors to The Icelandic Phallological Museum, located in Reykjavik, Iceland, can enjoy the world’s only museum dedicated to...

Gardasil Can Protect a New Generation

Merck has been hitting major television markets hard with commercials for its product Gardasil, which is a vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV. These ads are well-timed as they are appearing at the start of this year’s back-to-school season, which is a time when many children are already being seen by their physicians. This is an excellent time for parents and physicians to have a conversation about the benefits of the Gardasil vaccine. Sadly, research from 2015 shows this is often a missed opportunity on the side of the physician. The vaccine Gardasil was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration on June 8, 2006, for use in the prevention of cervical cancer in females. On September 15, 2008, the FDA approved the expanded use of Gardasil for the prevention of certain vulvar and vaginal cancers. On October 16, 2009, the FDA approved Gardasil for use in boys and young men. On December 22, 2010, the FDA approved Gardasil to prevent anal cancer. The FDA grants additional approvals for a drug or vaccine based on new clinical data submitted by the drug or vaccine manufacturer that proves the drug or vaccine works for the additional uses. Gardasil works best if administered before the first sexual activity of any kind occurs, which is why the vaccine is recommended for optimal administration to children, both boys and girls, between the ages of 11 and 12. Some American parents seem to have some difficulties coming to grips with the notion that their children will have sex one day. Those parents either put off giving their children the Gardasil vaccine or do...

Explaining Partial Androgen Insensitivity

I took a writing hiatus due to experiencing an ongoing medical crisis. I am still sorting out how to live with my new diagnosis, which sadly interferes with my ability to write, to think, to sleep, to laugh and to live how I want to live my life. My diagnosis doesn’t just affect me; it affects my partner Dutch, my entire family, my friends and my pets and my ability to perform at my bill-paying day job. I am not back to being 100 percent myself yet. This is my first blog post in nearly two months. I am considering this to be a small win in my battle back to health and wellness.   A friend told me about a young colleague undergoing gender reassignment surgery. This was not an act of malice or of gossip. It was simply my friend, who is of an older generation, wanting to better understand the situation. We now talk about gender reassignment surgery in the news and at the coffee maker at work where previously this was a taboo topic that wasn’t discussed openly. My friend’s colleague was diagnosed during his youth with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS). Androgen insensitivity is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with androgen insensitivity conditions are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell, yet their bodies are unable to respond properly to male sex hormones, or androgens, which includes testosterone and dehydroepiandroesterone or DHEA. As a result, the person has some or all of the physical traits of a female with the genetic...

A New Novel Explores How the Past Can Disrupt the Future

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My first book selection is I Am No One by Patrick Flanery, which was released on July 5. This is the third novel by the American-born author; all three of his works have received praise by critics. The cover art of I Am No One is clean and crisp with a hint of urban flare. The serif font looks sophisticated and is easy to read. The pages in my hardback copy are offset to give the pages more texture and definition, which in turn gives the book a feel of quality as each page is turned. I have not read Flanery’s previous novels nor any of his essays. My first impressive of his writing style is that it is similar to Jack Kerouac’s with the exception of Flanery’s use of punctuation. While Kerouac mainly disregarded punctuation, Flanery overuses commas to such a degree that the number of commas on a page can be distracting. Here is an example of Flanery’s writing and use of commas from the first chapter: “This is not something that tends to happen in Britain, where suspicion of strangers is so deeply ingrained in the national psyche, perhaps from the years of the IRA threat, or even more distantly, from the suspicion of...

Italy’s Contributions to Our Sexual History

I am on vacation this week. Please enjoy one of my favorite postings. XOXO   I was that child who asked “Why is the sky blue?” until I was satisfied with the answer I was given. My mother quickly adapted to my questions; she bought my brother and me a set of encyclopedias and a “how science works” book series along with two dictionaries. She gave us both unlimited access to the public library and encouraged me to bestow some questions on the librarians. We were both encouraged to read anything we wanted, no matter how challenging the material or how questionable in nature the material was deemed by other mothers. Our mother never stifled our creativity, intelligence or curiosity. Perhaps this is why I still ask questions to this day. I want to know as much as I can about everything that interests me, which is one reason I spend more time reading and researching than watching television. The other day I was reading a book for some ideas for some Tweets and found information that excited me. I discovered a treasure trove of anatomy-related information about sex and reproduction. I want to share this information because it is just good stuff to know.   The Italian anatomist Gabriel Fallopius was born in 1523 in Modena, Italy, and served as a canon of the cathedral of Modena before returning to the study of medicine. In 1549, Fallopius became a professor of anatomy at the University of Pisa. He performed multitudes of dissections using human cadavers and described his work in the book Observationes anatomicae, which was published in 1561. Fallopius...