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How many days before and after period are safe? How safe are safe days, really?

Safe days, or the calendar method, as some call it, is a form of contraceptive method women use around the world. This method of contraception relies on women tracking their menstrual cycle and counting days in which she can have sex and avoid conception. But how exactly does it work? Love Matters spoke to Dr Adongo- Meme, a resident gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital to understand how it works.

How exactly do you calculate safe days?

If your cycle length is anywhere between 26 and 32 days, (a cycle being from day 1 of the menses until the day just before the next period), then the fertile days are from day 8 – 19. This is called the standard days’ method and should not be used by people with irregular menses, or cycles longer than 32 days or shorter than 26 days.

How can you be extremely accurate on your calculations when you have irregular periods?
This method requires one to record their menstrual cycle length for a minimum of 12 cycles. The length of the shortest cycle and the longest cycle is used to calculate the fertile window. To estimate the first fertile day, 20 days are subtracted from the shortest cycle length. The last fertile day is calculated by subtracting 10 days from the longest cervical length. For example, if your shortest cycle is 26 days and the longest cycle is 32 days, it means the fertile days would be from day 6 to day 22. That’s a pretty long period to abstain so additional precaution would be needed e.g. barrier methods like the condom.

Is it really a reliable long-term measure for contraception?

Yes, it can be used on a long term basis but requires an immense amount of discipline to execute. It also has a high failure rate of 20% largely due to miscalculations and indiscipline.

Is it possible to still conceive while menstruating?

Anything is possible. But largely no because during your menses the hormones that are responsible for egg maturation and ovulation are largely reduced.

Is it possible to conceive the day after the end of your period?

If it falls within your fertile days, yes.

Are there any easier ways of tracking one’s fertility calendar aside from manually calculating it on an actual chronological calendar?

There are the good old cycle beads. They look like a traditional necklace. Those are tailored for the people with a cycle length of 26-32 days. Phone apps are also an option but only after you have recorded a minimum of 12 cycles.

In your medical opinion, what would you recommend are better long-term birth control measures women can use?

There are several and recommending one over another is not quite possible. Contraceptive choice is based on several factors: the desire for children, how many, how far apart, any other medical conditions, weight, allergies, and so on and so forth. There is no ‘one size fits all’. It requires evaluation by your doctor and a comprehensive discussion on benefits and risks.


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Sexual Health

What is orgasm?




When you get really turned on, changes happen in your body. Eventually, if you get really aroused, you can have an orgasm or in other words, you can come, or climax.
Her orgasms

When you get sexually aroused your vagina becomes wetter, which makes it smooth and slippery. With more stimulation, you could climax (orgasm).

His orgasms

When a man gets really turned on, he can have an orgasm – in other words, he can come, or climax.


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Sexual Health

Benefits of sexual intercourse during pregnancy




It’s strange and funny how so many people go on a long sex vacation when they get pregnant or abandon their wives when they get pregnant in terms of sex. The reasons or excuses are many but before I touch on the many misconceptions some have, I will like to encourage pregnant women who will like their husbands to have sex with them to also put in some effort to get them attracted.

Just because you are pregnant does not mean you shouldn’t take good care of yourself. Bath well and regularly because of the numerous hormones in your system due to the pregnancy. Dress well and look good but don’t stay down and look unattractive and expect your husband to come. Don’t keep saliva in your mouth for long otherwise, it can put your partner off.

When it comes to misconceptions that people have about sex during pregnancy, notable among them is that the semen will spill on the baby and might kill it. The penis might be hitting the baby’s head and affect it. The woman wouldn’t feel for sex during that stage. She will get pregnant again.

When a woman conceives, her cervix is closed. When she engages in sex, the semen cannot go through the cervix because there is also a mucus plug to prevent anything from entering. The penis cannot pass through the cervix into the womb. Most women rather feel for sex when they get pregnant. When a woman gets pregnant, the hormones prevent ovulation which is the release of the egg from the ovary. Imagine the disaster or the trouble of your husband or wife or your partner to wait throughout the 9 months plus delivery, to resume having sex with you. How many people will be able to wait till that period?

The only exception is when the doctor or midwife has indicated that sex can cause a problem for the pregnancy due to vaginal bleeding, repeated miscarriage, early labour treatment, or anything else that poses risk.

Now let us take a look at some of the benefits of having sex when pregnant.

1. Sex during pregnancy is a form of exercise for the lady. This also keeps her active and healthy because it burns out the calorie and keeps blood pressure in check.

2. Sexual intercourse can activate the feel-good hormones in the system. If the pregnant woman is happy, it makes the unborn happy because of their connection.

3. During pregnancy, it offers the couple or partners the opportunity to explore certain sex positions they may not have tried before. Sometimes you even later adopt those as your favourite even after delivery.

4. It creates a bond between the partners as the two people do not have to sexually fast for over 9 months. When sex continuous during pregnancy it doesn’t break the flow between them.

5. Sex is even more enjoyable during pregnancy especially for the woman because of the different hormones in her system and also the blood flow in her vulva.

6. During pregnancy, the woman experiences different hormones which can be very uncomfortable but sexual intercourse during pregnancy can help clear most of it as sex can make her sleep soundly.

7. Sex during pregnancy can make delivery easier, this is because the sperm is rich in a hormone known as prostaglandins which help in uterus contractions.

It is equally important to say that not every pregnant woman feels like having sex. Respect the decision of the woman if she doesn’t feel for it or not comfortable with having sex.

Care needs to be taken so as not to contract any sexually Transmitted Infections as this can also affect the unborn if care is not taken.

Sex during pregnancy is not harmful and can happen throughout the nine-month or the pregnancy period unless the doctor has said otherwise.

By Cons. Michael Tagoe

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Sexual Health

Good sexual intercourse lasts minutes, not hours, therapists say




Erie, Pa. — Satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from three to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual activity, according to a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists.

Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani conducted a survey of 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen thousands of patients over several decades.

Thirty-four, or 68 percent, of the group responded and rated a range of time amounts for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate, desirable, too short and too long.

The average therapists’ responses defined the ranges of intercourse activity times: “adequate,” from three to seven minutes; “desirable,” from seven to 13 minutes; “too short” from one to two minutes; and “too long” from 10 to 30 minutes.

“A man’s or woman’s interpretation of his or her sexual functioning as well as the partner’s relies on personal beliefs developed in part from society’s messages, formal and informal,” the researchers said. “Unfortunately, today’s popular culture has reinforced stereotypes about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long intercourse. ”

Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women who responded wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer.

“This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction,” said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of psychology. “With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions.”

Corty and Guardiani, then an undergraduate student and now a University graduate, are publishing their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, but the article is currently available online.

The survey’s research also has implications for treatment of people with existing sexual problems.

“If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last, these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead of medicine,” Corty noted.



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