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Author Topic: Just need a little clarification please
NoName
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Hi. I have been reading up about fertility for the past few months and I came across something I had a question about and I feel it might be misinformation. I know that you guys can surely help me out. Is there anyway for sexual activity (of any kind) can cause you to ovulate early or ovulate, period? I read somewhere that the female and male body chemistry interact with each other and it can stimulate the female to release her egg early. Given what I know about ovulation, doesn't your body have to have some time in order for the egg to mature and that you don't ovulate unless the egg is ready to be released? I would imagine the female reproductive system has a mind of its own and it is a separate entity that can't be influence by the male's system, but I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't wrong about that. What gave me pause is that maybe the qualities that make up semen MAY be able to influence something, I don't see how your body would know whether you had a wrapped penis, a toy, or your own fingers in you. How would your ovaries know the difference? Thanks for the help as always [Smile]
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Heather
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I don't know of any study linking a given sexual activity to changes in ovulatory patterns (and for people to have social interactions create impact in body chemistry doesn't require sex), however we know that there are about a bazillion things that can result in changes to someone's fertility cycle. So, no one should ever figure their cycle is set in stone.

But yes: in order for ovulation to happen, other things have to happen first, so when someone ovulates is not going to radically change from one day to the next. In other words, if a person tends to ovulate around day 15, and up until that day, their cycle, per charting, looked the same as usual, then they would not be likely to wind up ovulating on day 8.

I'm not sure what you mean about the qualities that make up semen in regard to any of this. Are you suggesting you think the presence of semen in the vaginal tract could change when someone ovulates? If so, I have never seen or read any evidence of that, and that would fly in the face of what we know about ovulation and fertility -- which aren't just about ovaries, but also the endocrine system -- for sure.

Want to show me what you've been reading or toss me a title?

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NoName
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Well, I just meant that if any of that were possible, I would think it would be from semen, not just the penis itself being in you. I read it from here http://susana-s.hubpages.com/hub/how-to-avoid-pregnancy_dont-want-to-get-pregnant and in the past, I have seen it in a couple of other places as well that I am having a hard time digging up at the moment. This page in particular seem problematic to me because I see a few more things that are probably not true as well. The part about the strongest sperm are released in pre-ejaculate really gave me pause and I commented on the page saying it wasn't true and explained why and low and behold, she never accepted my comment and didn't post it. Instead of making myself worry about this stuff, I thought I would come here and double check. I am really through with reading fertility stuff from anywhere but Toni Weschler's site (tcoyf)because I can't find anything more informative than that one. I still want to pick up some books when my funds allow it as well. I know personally, I have a few times a year when I see fertile mucus on as early as day 8, though it typically starts on day 12 or so. I also can have a cycle that is from 24 to 31 days so I figured that obviously my sexuality didn't play a big role in it but I always want to double check just to have the knowledge (as you know, I do not have any intercourse and I am just trying to get educated on fertility as part of managing my anxiety). Thanks.
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Heather
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I'd advise sticking to more established sources of info here. Toni is really THE source, were we to have just one, and I know, personally, how seriously she takes the accuracy of her information. Katie Singer, author of the garden of fertility, is another excellent source. Our Bodies, Ourselves, and all of their work is one more.

I agree, there's a lot of iffy information on that page, and I find the particular claim you were first asking about really iffy, especially since it is pretty outrageous and isn't backed up with any kind of source. I also find en-masse sites like that don't ask their writers to do any kind of fact-checking and don't really care if things are factual, which is another mark against them. At the very least, I'd avoid reading on this from anyone who doesn't even write with a full name you can reference to see what their background and education is.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Well noted. Thanks a bunch!
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Heather
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Of course. How are you doing lately, on the whole? Sounds like you've been feeling a bit better.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Also, I just read through the comments on that page, where the author states absolute misinformation about IUDs, Plan B and more. So, think we can write that one off really easily.

When she gets called out on misinformation about the claim you first brought up here, she also gives links to sources on chemotaxis, which has nothing to do with that at all, but is about sperm motility. The heck?)

[ 11-23-2011, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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I know Heather! The more I read the comments and how people were just eating up what the article was saying made me just stare in disbelief! Misinformation is rampant when it comes to sex and I never realized just how serious it was until I, myself realized just how misinformed I had always been up until my 20s. What was very scary about that page is that the comments consisted of users, most of whom were horrible spellers asking questions like "how can I avoid getting pregnant when my boyfriend likes to ejaculate inside of me?" I can only imagine how much you must worry about this kind of stuff in your line of work because sex education is so bad in this country and those suffering most are children and teens. Like I said, I tried to post something saying that there was misinformation in the article and explained why it was wrong. It said the author had to review the comment first and well...comments made later than mine showed up and mine never did. I guess she didn't like being put on the spot like that? I get her overall point about how most of the go-to methods of birth control are unreliable when you use them wrong but she acts like birth control never works at all.

Thanks for asking about me. I am doing a little bit better. I have been going to therapy once a week and we talk about my anxiety issues a lot. When it comes to the pregnancy stuff, we have talked recently about how my life in particular has always been on a delicate balance (never had a financially stable family, mental and physical health has never been the absolute best, tons of family dysfunction, etc.) and when it comes to any huge life altering thing, I go to extreme measures to keep it from happening because I have never had a secure enough base to work from to allow for normal life risks. That makes a lot of sense really. I could go on for days thinking of all the behaviors that I have adopted over the years in order to gain a sense of "control" and although it is mentally unhealthy to a certain extent, I have always used it as a survival mechanism really. Considering all this on top of generally receiving really inconsistent and negative messages about sex and pregnancy, it is no wonder I have so many problems with this. If it weren't for that fact alone, I doubt it would be a theme in my OCD at all. Even as an adult, knowing better, it is a very hard and long process trying to undo really bad raising that you have received. I don't think OCD ever really goes away and I don't see myself ever living without it but I just hope I can get to a point where it isn't so crippling. I am doing all I know to do right now to combat it. The hardest parts are getting over the bigger obsessions that I have, really, the mainstream everyday anxieties I have learned to live with quite productively. This pregnancy stuff has just been so hard to fight and I can even say that it has even caused more distress than when I had an eating disorder. As for now, I am talking it through in therapy, trying to get very educated, and my wonderful boyfriend is really going above and beyond in being supportive. He even goes to the extent to show me literally that he has just washed his hands and that they are dry..and so forth so that I will have solid evidence to look back on if it starts giving me anxiety afterwards. I feel bad that our sexuality has become so technical but it is all that gets me through at the moment and I am just lucky that he is so understanding.

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NoName
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Wouldn't you know it, she has the "comment" feature turned off now. I giggled at that a little bit.
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Heather
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Here's hoping she's maybe also going to take the time to fact-check and edit her piece, rather than just silencing the critiques.

One can dream, anyway.

I'm so glad to hear that you've been going to therapy and finding that it benefits you. Has your therapist talked with you at all about exposure per your OCD and how to deal with the pregnancy worries? Might be a bit soon for that, but certainly is something that will likely be in the works eventually.

It's really great that you have such a supportive partner. Go, him!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Exposure as in showing me images or something like that of pregnancy? We haven't done anything like that and I am not sure we will. This lady is a pretty good therapist but she is a bit practical. She doesn't really operate from a mental illness standpoint of focuses on anything like that. She just deals with what the issues are. In other words, she isn't really dealing with my OCD per say, she is walking me through my specific anxieties and trying to get to the root of them. We have really torn apart my pregnancy worries but of course, just being aware of why I have them doesn't make them go away. Really at the end of the day, I know that no matter what happens in therapy, I am 99.9 percent positive that I will likely never have intercourse unless or until I am sterilized in some way. I really wish I could be more flexible in this but I just don't see that happening. My one and only go in the present is to stop worrying about pregnancy risks when they aren't even there. I really miss being intimate with my boyfriend without worrying myself to death over it. It is funny how I have done manual and oral hundreds of times over the years and never gave pregnancy a 2nd thought and now, even though I am older and wiser, it drives me crazy. My boyfriend brings up a good point when he says "hey, you know in the beginning of our relationship we had full on intercourse and just relied on a condom (which broke once mind you) and you didn't worry about pregnancy this much, so why do you worry now?" That doesn't make sense to me either. The only explanation I have is the OCD ebbs and flows constantly and I could not worry about something today, and be crippled with worry tomorrow. I guess that is why pregnancy is so bad for me because unlike other obsessions I have had in the past, there is no way of escaping your sexuality and how you feel about pregnancy will have to be dealt with for the bulk of your life. There really isn't many options of avoiding the subject unless you really stick to avoiding activities that have no risk of pregnancy...which I see that being very hard to do the older I get the longer my relationship goes on. My boyfriend is completely amazing and I know that he loves me for me because he has stuck by my side for 7 years knowing that we are sexually inactive for most of the time. Given how much we love each other and the seriousness of our relationship, I really hate that I can't take it further than this and that I may never be able to. It really sucks but I am doing all I know to do right now.
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Heather
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My understanding is that exposure with OCD treatment involves putting someone in the situation they are worried about directly, but doing so with a lot of prep and specifics to make it as safe as possible for them.

And for sure, your OCD is going to make it so, as we've talked about before, this isn't about logic or really, reality outside the reality of your OCD for right now. So you feel okay about it before but not now doesn't seem strange to me. Of course, how people feel about pregnancy, period, can change like that, too. What might feel like an okay or less-than-horrifying possibility at one time of life can feel very different at another.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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We have not done anything exposure related. All she has really told me in that regard to is try to keep doing what I am doing as she sees no pregnancy risk from it to begin with. Once I am okay with doing that again, then we will talk about going further. If that time ever comes, I feel that I would still need to be protected from pregnancy in a major way, even if I did feel ready for intercourse so I don't know if we will even get to that point in therapy, at least not with her because she will be leaving in the Spring. An aspect to my lack or worry back then was that I was a teenager with poor sex education to begin with. I just knew the bare basics and to me, I always operated under the assumption that only intercourse can get you pregnant and that there wasn't even any exceptions to that rule whatsoever. So if I full heatedly believed that, then it is easy to see why I didn't worry much. Somewhere down the line, I came across information that it didn't take intercourse to cause pregnancy (aside from someone flat out ejaculating on your genitals, I always factored that in as intercourse as well)and the worry has been in the back of my mind ever since and did nothing but get worse. Pregnancy would have been just as devastating then as it would now but I just wasn't aware that the possibility even existed and that I was having very safe sex by avoiding intercourse and genital to genital contact. Obviously I was always careful and knew just enough to avoid getting myself pregnant but man, I couldn't imagine being that worry free again. I often ask myself what would happen if I had homosexual sex, would I still worry about this after doing the same activities? And I honestly don't know. I am not fully sure if it is the activities themselves that make me worry or just the fact that I am doing them with someone who has the ability to cause pregnancy..perhaps a little of both. I thought one of the biggest perks of having non-intercourse sex was that you can have loads of fun and intimacy without worrying about pregnancy...it sucks that my stupid anxiety won't let me enjoy even that.
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Heather
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Well, you DO know that it sounds like some of what you saw was misinformation, right? I mean, setting IVF aside, direct genital-to-genital or direct semen-to-genital contact IS the way pregnancy happens and it doesn't happen without at least one of those things.

I'm not trying to go backwards and suggest that if you just got this, you'd feel differently, voila! I'm just making sure that this ground is covered, even though I think we already have in the past. I also think it's important to recognize that this probably isn't about what you knew or didn't before, and probably is, as you've already talked about, about the nature of your OCD changing and its influence on all of this.

But it sounds like you've got a good therapist who you are connecting well with: that is so fantastic! I am sure it still sucks that this is so challenging and such a long haul, but you took that step, and it was a big one for you, and I think that's just great.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Thanks for the support and encouragement. Your site has meant the absolute world to me. Education is desperately needed in this country and I am very thankful that you and your staff take the time out to give that education on such a very important and life changing issue. I do get the direct contact is needed. Where I always get hung up is when "what if indirect contact can do it...omg I am gonna be that one in a million freak chance." I know that thinking is illogical but intellectually, I can't convince myself that it isn't possible. I can tell you this much, my worries don't really start until I have been touched in some way, be it manually or orally. I don't really worry a whole lot about doing those things to my boyfriend as I can sell myself the fact that me giving him oral can't get me pregnant in any way. But when it comes to him touching me, I don't even see him touch himself, I see nor feel anything on his hand, he washes them before, and heck, sometimes he is even fully clothed when he does it and I still get those nagging thoughts that sperm has transferred onto me via his hands somehow. No matter how many times I replay it, it just nags and nags. I know there is no way to prove that someone ever got pregnant from manual sex because no matter what someone's story is, they could be lying, confused, or both. What my mind wants to hear is 0 risk and I can't find a way to tell myself that for some reason.
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Heather
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Of course. You know we've got your back, and we're members of your cheering section. [Smile]

Again, my sympathies that this is so hard on you and so challenging. I know that it can be particularly tough for smart people to deal with fears they know are irrational, because the feeling often is that you should be smart enough to know better. But alas, as you know anxiety doesn't tend to work that way. If only!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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