Death by HPV Vaccine Is Total BS – Vaccinate Your Kids!

Two things happened at about the same time a couple of weeks ago. First, I was asked to write a blog in support of HPV vaccination by the lovely Mackenzie Melton, MPH, the
Immunization Project Coordinator for Within Reach WA.  Second, 12-year-old Meredith Prohaska died the same day she received an HPV shot. Obviously, there are no words to express the incredible sorrow and wrongness of her death.

There are, however, a few words to express the wrongness of concluding the HPV vaccination caused her death and those words are “correlation is not causation.” For those of you (like me, actually) who aren’t quite clear about what this means, I’m happy to spell it out.

Imagine I am wearing new underwear to work one day and I decide to show it off to my coworkers. And then I get fired. The reason I got fired is not because of my new underwear, but because I chose to show it off. In other words, the new underwear’s relationship to my firing (correlation) is incidental. The reason (cause) I was fired was the showing off, not the new underwear. I could wear new underwear every day and not get fired. Got it?


On to HPV. HPV can cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, anus, penis, back of tongue, back of throat and tonsils. It can also cause genital warts. You don’t have to have symptoms to pass it on and it’s amazingly easy to get. In fact, about 80% of sexually active adults have had it and it is the Number 1 sexually transmitted infection. You can read up about it’s nastiness here.

Of course, I wondered if anyone has definitely, absolutely died from receiving this cancer preventing vaccination and this is what I discovered: No. There’s an excellent expose on that takes this issue on. Here’s the most relevant excerpt:

From June 2006 to March 2013, approximately 57 million doses of HPV vaccines were distributed and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received approximately 22,000 adverse event reports occurring in girls and women who received them. As noted in a 2013 CDC follow-up announcement, 92% of those reports were classified as “non-serious,” the other 8% generally encompassed symptoms such as “headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, syncope, and generalized weakness,” and adverse events reported to VAERS were “consistent with those identified during the vaccine’s per-licensure clinical trials.”

You can read the whole thing here.

The last time I checked, 92% plus 8% equals 100% and this means no one died from the HPV vaccine. Yay! 100% no deaths sounds like an excellent track record to me. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but cancer tends to actually-factually kill people.

Your kids should start the series at age 11 or so – both boys and girls. Why so young? It’s usually before they are sexually active at all so they have a clean slate. When you talk to them about it, be clear HPV is sexually transmitted, it’s incredibly easy to get and it can cause cancer. If you don’t know how to explain what an STI is, you can learn how here.


Posted in Birds and bees, Parenting, Puberty, STD, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

The “C” Word (No, Not THAT One!)

I recently received an email from a mama who was worried about her sweet middle school daughter who is doing what middle school girls all over the world do – toying with boys, clothes and the intersection of these two things. Here’s what she said:

I am struggling with my middle school daughter wanting to dress older  than her age and starting to be interested in boys and coming under cultural pressure to “soften” her edges to be likeable and pleasing to boys. I want to keep talking to her about why it’s not appropriate to look sexy in middle school without sending the message that boys can’t or shouldn’t try to control themselves. Any ideas about how to do this?

I am not at all surprised they are struggling with this – I regularly count my blessings that I don’t have a daughter, partially because of this BS – but what did surprise me is the idea of allowing girls to think, even for a minute, that boys can’t control themselves.

Aren’t we past this? Am I living in a feminist fantasy where everyone knows boys and men can and do “control themselves” all the time? Right now, everywhere on the planet boys and men are actively not raping and pillaging their way through their days. They are “controlling” themselves. As the mother of a young teen boy, I am responsible for educating him about his body, his hormones, horniness and “controlling” it (seriously, it never occurred to me to talk to him about this idea of needing to “control” himself).

consent-infographic-lgInstead of control, I talk about the other “C” word – consent. In my mind, consent is where it’s at – not control. When we talk about consent, we talk about how everyone agrees to whatever it is that’s on the table (or bed or wherever). We talk about how to check in and to confirm consent has been given. We talk about how sometimes people will say “no” but then keep on keeping on and how this can be confusing and create big problems. We talk about communication and openness and waiting until he’s 27 before he has sex. 

We talk about how girls sometimes don’t understand what they are doing when they dress in a sexy way. How they are influenced by our sexualized culture and think they need to dress and behave in ways that are beyond their years to fit in or get attention. We talk about how this doesn’t mean they are advertising their availability for sex. 

Just like the mom who emailed me does with her daughter, we talk about how it’s those girls’ parents’ responsibility to talk to them about this fucked up world we live in. It’s their responsibility to help their girls navigate all the misguided messages they get about what’s important about being female in our culture. 

Finally, and most importantly, we talk about how it’s my son’s responsibility to understand this and to do his best to remember her value is on the inside. What she chooses to wear has little or no bearing on who she is or what makes her fabulous, whether she knows it or not.

Posted in Birds and bees, Parenting, Puberty, Sexualization, Talking to kids about sex, Teens, Tweens, Values | Leave a comment

The Mr. Hobby Lobby Decision: The Supreme Court’s Super-Secret Agenda (Maybe)

You probably expect me to rant about the anti-woman, anti-choice, stupid, short sighted, overstepping, lame-ass, audacious, and downright sexist decision made by the  Supremes in the Mr. Hobby Lobby case.


And you would be totally right in thinking I could rant my pants off about it, but I’m here for another, altogether different rant. . .

What the fuck is up with businesses being expected to provide health care insurance for their employees? I’m serious – why on earth should a business provide insurance at all? Whether or not their employees have health insurance is none of their business – professionally or personally. As a small business owner, I cannot see why I should be required provide it to my employees – it has nothing to do with my business or their work.

I know I sound like a Libertarian (props to you, my Lib pals), but I’d like you to think about this for a minute – objectively. Businesses started providing health insurance as an extra benefit to their employees. Benefits are like bribes and dessert – awesome and unnecessary. A healthy workforce works harder and better and often the insurance was a total necessity because of the dangerous nature of the work. Somehow this benefit turned into a worker’s right, no matter what the work, and that’s where it all falls apart for me.

Do you consider good health and access to healthcare a universal human right? Do you believe our children have the right to free public education? Me too. I think this healthcare thing comes under the same umbrella and should be provided by the same people who bring you public schools, highways, bank regulation and wars – our less-than-stellar government.

Which brings me to the super-secret agenda: the Supremes think so too. This shitty Mr. Hobby Lobby decision is the first step to building a case for socialized medicine in the US. By codifying a business’s right to have an opinion, religion and values (hence my use of “Mr.” if you didn’t make that connection) that are at odds with the good of the masses, it paves the way for unbiased, opinion free healthcare for all of us.

Frankly, I think Mr. Hobby Lobby can and should do whatever he likes with the benefit they are required to provide. They shouldn’t be forced to provide it anyway and sadly, their “win” isn’t a win at all considering the mess it may cause. Unless, of course, I’m right and the Supremes have a larger, smarter person in mind to provide health insurance – Uncle Sam. I’m not holding my breath. 


Posted in Abortion, Birth Control, Values | Tagged , , ,

Dear Pubic Hair…

Dear Pubic Hair:

Hey! It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you – 15 years? Longer? It’s funny – I can’t really remember the last time I saw you. It’s seems so crazy because you were once so much a part of basic nudity and sex.

I feel bad that we haven’t really connected in so long – what happened? I keep making up these stories about how hard it is for you to stand up for yourself when some crazed razor or waxer attacks you without even considering your feelings. Do they even ask if you want to be so rudely yanked out? Are you able to fight for your right to act as a directional sign for penetration?

I hajoyofsex220ve such fond (and a wee bit traumatic) memories of the splash you made in the Joy Of Sex. I had no idea people could be so hairy! It makes me laugh every time I think of all that 70‘s style bush and armpit hair and how amazed I was at those illustrations.

Now I’m amazed because kids these days never see pubic hair. Their moms are waxed down to landing strips or nothing, the women they inevitably see in porn are in the same state and teen girls are taking this lack of fur to heart, so they too, wax it all off.

I keep wondering what are girls learning when they see their moms without their god-given fur? Do they think there is something wrong with them when they start to grow their own? What kind of full body love example are moms setting when they zip this part of their bodies clean away?

Maybe the thing is that you’ve forgotten your what your purpose in life is. Have you? I haven’t. Seriously, we need you. The world needs more pubic hair. You are so amazing – colorful, soft, inviting. You make vaginas safer, penises stand prouder and put the “P” in pheromones.

madonna22f-1-webDon’t people remember the fact that you are one of the biggest signs that a person’s body is no longer a kid’s body? I have no idea why anyone other than a pedophile would want to fool around with a woman who’s cooch looks like a toddler’s. I’m trying to come up with the best word ever to describe the feeling I have when I think about this and just can’t do it. “Ick” doesn’t quite do the trick.

Sweet Pubes, it would be so cool to see you make a huge come back – kind of like the hipster beards young men are sporting these days. But my guess is that until porn decides pubic hair is “in” again, women will be turning their vulvas into naked mole rats and I will have to revisit The Joy Of Sex if I want remember the good old, pube-postive days.

In love and solidarity,


Posted in Uncategorized

Uncle Creepy: How To Spot a Pedophile

The Sandusky verdict prompts me to remind you it’s an adult’s responsibility to protect children. This means if you are concerned about an adult in your child’s life, please do something about it, rather than putting your head in the sand. Contact Stop It Now! for help if you have questions about an adult’s behavior.

Here are some things to watch out for with regard to adult behaviors that could be “red flags.” Share this info with your kids – they need to be empowered to tell you if an adult or older kid is doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.

These are just suggestions and won’t actually “diagnose” a pedophile but will give you guidelines if you are worried. And remember, 93% of the time, the person is known to the family.

1) Are they more interested in hanging out with kids than adults?

2) Do they have loose boundaries and insist on tickling, wrestling, hugging and touching kids even when the child has asked them to stop? Do they have loose emotional boundaries as well?

3) Do they hang with kids and make their home very welcome to kids (even though they don’t have any of their own)? Do they have all the latest and greatest toys and video games?

4) Do they seem “too good to be true”, i.e. frequently babysits different children for free; takes children on special outings alone; buys children gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?

5) Is their contact with a child outside of their job description/role? i.e. Coach giving rides home, teacher offering special tutoring sessions out of class/school, texting “just to say hi”,  school music teacher offering private lessons, etc.

6) Takes the child into their confidence by sharing secrets or adult information? Do they talk to children about sex?

7) Do they view child pornography?

8) Do they give you an uncomfortable our “uh-oh” feeling when you see them interact with kids?

9) Do they photograph children “for fun”?

10) Did they sexually abuse or molest you when you were a child?

11) Are they a pillar of the community? Charming, attractive, nice, friendly and very  concerned with the plight of children in your community?

12) Do they buy special gifts for your child, praise them, tell you how amazing and special your child is?

13) Do they volunteer and/or work with children at school, church or in community organizations?

14) Do they seem preoccupied with your child?

If the adult is a problem, most likely there will be more than one thing on this list. Just because someone is actively involved in a youth ministry, it doesn’t mean they are a problem. But if they are involved in the youth ministry AND shower your child with praise and gifts, I’d be on alert.

Learn more here:

Prevention tips – your kids need to know how to protect themselves:




Posted in Uncategorized

When The Kids Walk In On You!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! How fabulous that you managed to make time for some loving.

Secondly, BUMMER! Nothing spoils the mood like the pitter-patter of tiny feet, gasps, and commentary along the line of “What the heck are you two doing?!”

Here’s how to handle it.

Prevention! Right now, today, institute a “knock first” policy. This means if a door is closed the family rule is you “knock first” and get permission to enter.

Get a lock put on your door.

Script! Already know what you’re going to say before you say it! Whoever is most able to speak at the time can say, calmly, “Hi! We’re having a private moment – can you please wait outside the door for a minute, one of us will be right out.”

Afterwards! Now for the damage control (if there is any to be done).

3 – 7 years old:
“Hey, I’m so sorry you walked in on us when we were having some private time. It probably looked a little weird and maybe a little scary, but we we’re just fine. In the future, you really need to knock before you come into our room. Thanks!”

8 years old and up:
“Hey – I’m so sorry you walked in on us while we were making love and having some private time. If you felt uncomfortable, that’s totally normal. We did too, because making love is private and we were surprised to see you. Sex can look and sound a little weird so I’m sorry if you were upset or scared.”

“In the future, please knock first before you come into our room. We’ll do the same for you.”

“Do you have any questions?”

Good luck with the last one – be honest and answer as simply as possible. They really don’t need to know the details of why daddy likes to be tied up or why you have that cool silver rocket ship. :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Sexualized Girls – Laura Ingalls Style

The setting: The Little House on the Prairie.

The scenario: Pa Ingalls is playing The Arkansas Traveler on the fiddle, while, Ma, Laura, Mary and baby Carrie are listening as the sun sets on a long day.

The dance moves: Laura sweetly gyrates her hips and bends forward to show the world her sexy 8 year old booty and Mary shimmies and shakes her 10 year old breast buds all around, both flaunting their bodies for all they’ve got.

Ma looks on, bemused as she watches her two big girls dancing their hearts out. She hears a voice inside of her say, “Hm. This behavior seems a bit mature for their ages. I wonder if it’s okay for them to be dancing like bar girls? Oh, well, it must be, everyone else is doing it. What harm can it do?”


Posted in Sexualization, Tweens | Tagged , ,