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New Ways of Seeing: Study examines youth views on teenage pregnancy and romantic relationships

Posted on 06. Aug, 2013 by in RH in the Philippines, Sex & Relationships

New Ways of Seeing: Study examines youth views on teenage pregnancy and romantic relationships

What do young Filipinos think about sexual and reproductive health?  How do they look at issues like teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, virginity and sexual relationships? What images do they associate with these concepts?

In the last two years, Mulat Pinoy conducted two amateur video contests: “We Are Right Here. We Are RH.”, and “Sexual Health: Shout or Shush?” These two competitions encouraged young people to submit videos that expressed their thoughts regarding a controversial topic: sexual and reproductive health and rights. With the debate raging constantly across all levels of discourse, Mulat Pinoy sought to give young people a voice in the discussion, to give them a chance to show what they see and feel.

Data Tolentino-Canlas, a professor at the College of Mass Communication of the University of the Philippines and a PhD student of Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design in Clemson University, carefully scrutinized the submissions for both contests. Her goal was to analyse a total of 45 videos and discover the prevailing trends among the entries: subject matter, word choice, image choice, and so on.

Her study, titled “New Ways of Seeing,” yielded distinct patterns regarding the notions being held by the young people who submitted. Her abstract covered the broader points:

Findings revealed that portrayals of topics related to sexual and reproductive health rights were still highly influenced by mass media, traditional views on marriage and sex. A gap likewise existed in the understanding of statistical and research information and its representation for a young audience. Creators of the videos focused on romantic heterosexual relationships, and how these usually lead to unwanted pregnancies, with women being on the receiving end of the “punishment” of a life of lost opportunities.

Representations of reproductive and sexual health rights were extremely low, compared to repeated images of contraceptives per se. However these representations did not discuss nor advocate their use, and instead were presented as controversial artifacts that came in conflict with traditional Roman Catholic beliefs. Likewise, there were very few representations of the LGBTQ communities, which were, ironically, some of the most vocal advocated of sexual health rights and awareness.

Among the patterns that Tolentino-Canlas discovered from testing were these specific qualities:

– Teenage relationships are primarily perceived as not only heterosexual, but with admonishing tones regarding sex between young people and seen as the cause of ‘troublesome’ situations.

– Teen pregnancy is portrayed as a burden left to the mothers, with social stigmas and hardship-related effects as an expected by-product without enough support or care from the father or other possible sources.

– Contraception is almost exclusively identified with condoms, and not any other method such as pills or family planning.

– Homosexuality is occasionally rendered with a degree of irony and derision, and focuses solely on gay men rather than the broader spectrum that includes lesbians and queers.

– Religious discussion is clearly avoided but backgrounds and imagery remain prominent, especially as a balm in troublesome situations. Seeking aid and counsel from friends, family or community is less common than seeking solace in prayer/faith.

Each of these aforementioned items, along with several other points, were drawn from the collated info from the videos, using a specialized coding matrix. After the comprehensive analysis, Tolentino-Canlas also provided suggestions about how young people can best move forward, in terms of broadening their awareness and their expressive intent. She stated:

The study recommended exploring ways of presenting information that would allow creators to critique mass media representations of the issues raised above. The study presented suggestions for alternative stories (i.e., successful single parents vs. the sinful, damned woman), images, and approaches to reveal perspectives and explore topics beyond the boundaries of religion and tradition, under which most of the creators still operated. The study suggested changing, empowering and defying present conceptualizations and images of reproductive and sexual health to allow young people the opportunity to discuss subject matter that really mattered to them, and not just what societal structures think they should concern themselves with.

While the study did not have a wide enough statistical sample to be able to speak conclusively regarding all Filipino youth, it does reflect how powerful the influence of mass media can be, and how young people can definitely use similar platforms to speak out in return.

The major points of the study’s findings can be found here:

For more information:
Facebook: Mulat Pinoy
Twitter: @mulatpinoy

Contact Person: Regina Layug Rosero, [email protected]

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Happy even after: The Daddy-Mommy

Posted on 01. Jul, 2013 by in Divorce & Annulment in the Philippines, Sex & Relationships


FAMILY OF TWO. It’s not the breakup of a marriage or relationship that makes you a failure, it’s what you make of yourself after it that does

FAMILY OF TWO. It’s not the breakup of a marriage or relationship that makes you a failure, it’s what you make of yourself after it that does

MANILA, Philippines – Never in my life did I imagine my fairytale to end up with me quickly trading in my horse-drawn pumpkin carriage for a pushed-by-me-or-Yaya baby carriage; or having to say goodbye to my delicate glass slippers for much more sensible flats.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be living in the only country where there is no divorce and my grief would be compounded by the legal process, the technicalities and the sheer agony of going through an annulment.

In the beginning, I was single-mindedly focused on the welfare of my daughter and “making it work” that everything else was secondary.

Now, looking back on those last 11 years, I can say that I also never imagined how much I enjoy being a solo mom and the lessons it has taught me about relationships, family and, most of all, what it made me realize about myself.

You try harder — at everything

The break-up of a marriage is the death of a once simple dream of having children and growing old with someone; I nagged myself, almost on a daily basis asking, “How now?”

You try harder — at everything else — that’s how.

I may have been in competition only with myself, but I tried harder at my career, my relationship with my daughter, and even doing “man things” around the house. I kid you not, but not being able to figure out how to work a DVD player connected to a stereo surround system was one of the things that made me feel inadequate and like I needed a “man of the house” to help. I quickly learned that there is Google and countless forums with a bunch of people willing to offer technical advice.

I found direction in the higher road of self-reliance — but I’m not above asking my daughter how to install a new app for me.

You have a better relationship with your child

I once wrote that one of the best things about solo parenting is, for the most part, there is just the two of us.

Since we mostly have each other to count on, we are compelled to mature faster and be more responsible about ourselves and for one another. This fosters a relationship of mutual trust and respect, as I grow into my role of being both a parent and a friend, and so does my daughter.

(I’m sure those who know us will tell you that, sometimes, they can’t tell who’s taking the parent role.)

You have a better relationship with yourself

Once you get over the barrage of questions, unsolicited advice and unwarranted comments (watch for my article, “Things solo moms are told”), you will learn that sardonic humor is the best material for a suit of armor. When you can let things slide off your back and stop feeling sorry for yourself, you take away other’s people implicit license to do so. After all, it’s not the breakup of a marriage or relationship that makes you a failure, it’s what you make of yourself after it that does.

Solo motherhood, for me, is a life of content punctuated with realizations made during the most mundane of moments. Like when my daughter and I we were quietly sitting beside each other and I said, “I love the life we have together” more to myself, thinking out loud than to anyone else.

“I do, too, Mom.” and a hand squeeze was her simple but definitive reply.

There were no “and’s, if’s or but’s” because I guess we both know that in a life where we have found a way to be happy even after, everything else is just a bonus.

Pancake in the shape of a necktie on plate photo from Shutterstock

In 2011, Ana wrote and published “Happy Even After: A Solo Mom’s Journal” ( storybook and diary, “Happy Even After” hopes to be a solo mom’s ally in writing a true-to-her-own-life fairytale.

This was also posted here.

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Ex Sext

Posted on 16. Apr, 2013 by in SASsy Must-Reads, Sex & Relationships

Ex Sext

by Nicai de Guzman






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Unprotected Anal Sex

Posted on 11. Apr, 2013 by in HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, Sex & Relationships

Unprotected Anal Sex

Dash of SAS
09 April 2013

By Ana P. Santos

Unprotected. Anal. Sex.

That is what is driving the rate of HIV transmission in the Philippines.

It is not “gay sex” that is driving the HIV epidemic because anal sex is not synonymous to gay sex.

To use the term gay sex as a euphemism, substitute or synonym implies that only gay men have anal sex and by correlation, only gay men are vulnerable to being infected by HIV.

Both are not true.  Let’s break this down into smaller parts. 


According to the Journal of the International AIDS Society, the Philippines has the lowest condom use in South East Asia, at 20-30 percent among high-risk groups. The study goes on to say that a 2003 national survey showed that 63 percent of male respondents said they had never used a condom and that condom use in extramarital partners was rare.

Average age of sexual debut is at 15, but even before that we are overly exposed to the ubiquity of sexual innuendo—from the green jokes and all sorts of insinuations in everyday conversation, the billboards along EDSA, the motels for every budget and vehicle type that are close to rivaling a major department store chain in their coverage.

It is ironic that we have such an aversion to using condoms. But it is not surprising that the Philippines has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the region and is among one of the seven countries in the world where HIV infection continues to rise. (Other countries have already been able to manage their epidemic; some have even been able to drive down the rate of infection.)

If we had a database or a medical repository to record sexually transmitted infections (STIs), indicators would most like show a growing number as well.

Condoms are the only barrier method scientifically proven to protect against STIs sexually transmitted infections and untimed pregnancy and when you have low condom use, you see high rates of STIs, including HIV and teen pregnancy.


Both gay and heterosexual couples engage in anal sex.

A thread in an online women’s forum entitled, “Backdoor…how was it?” reveals a lengthy discussion on anal sex. Some girls are curious about it because either they or their boyfriends are interested to try it. Some girls have done it and are more than willing to give out some sisterly advice; other girls swear by it.

Yes, these are Filipinas.

Yes, they are engaging or have engaged in anal sex with their partner as part of their sexual repertoire and not because they are prostitutes. [I must include the latter clarification because some believe that anal sex is a sex act best reserved for those that require an exchange of cash apart from bodily fluids.]

By equating anal sex to only gay sex, we are excluding women information about how to engage  in it safely which is important because unprotected anal sex has a higher rate of transmission of HIV/STIs due to the fact that the anus does not self-lubricate unlike the vagina, making it [the anus] more prone to tears and lesions where an infection may enter into the body.

CATIE, Canada’s Source for HIV and Hepatitis C infection rates HIV transmission via receptive anal sex (receiving the penis into the anus, also known as bottoming) at 1.4%. This means that an average of one transmission occurred for every 71 exposures. This risk was similar regardless of whether the receptive partner was a man or woman.

In comparison, CATIE estimated the risk of HIV transmission through receptive vaginal sex (receiving the penis in the vagina) to be 0.08%, equivalent to 1 transmission per 1,250 exposures.

HIV transmission for insertive vaginal sex (inserting the penis into the vagina) was estimated to be 0.04%, equivalent to 1 transmission per 2,500 exposures.

Risk of HIV transmission from different types of unprotected sex
  Number of individual studies Range of estimates Meta-analysis estimate
Receptive anal




Insertive anal




Receptive vaginal




Insertive vaginal





In the parlance of HIV intervention programs, the term MSM or Men who have Sex with Men is used to define a certain behavior rather than a sexual orientation.

The UNAIDS Action Framework, defines the term ‘MSM’ to describe those males who have sex with other males, regardless of whether or not they have sex with women or have a personal or social identity associated with that behavior, such as being ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’.

So, MSM is be a male who identifies as either straight, bisexual or gay but has sex with other men.

He could identify as straight and thus, have a wife / girl friend/female partner (some have permutations of all three) but also be having sex with another man who could also identify as either straight, bisexual or gay.

He could identify as bisexual and have both a wife / girlfriend or a boyfriend/male partner and have sexual relations with both of them.

Or he could identify as gay and have sex only with other men.

Bottom line, MSM is a term used to describe a sexual behavior, and by recognizing that such behavior exists, HIV interventions are developed for other groups that are not usually seen as high-risk for HIV transmission such as married women.

If that sounds complicated, that’s because it is. That’s also why it is inaccurate and unfair to limit the driver of HIV transmission to simply gay sex [It’s actually kind of archaic; much like the early days of HIV when it was called ‘the gay plague’] . It is unprotected anal sex that drives HIV infection, regardless of who is having it with whom.

Instead of stigmatizing a certain behavior, what we should be doing is creating more awareness for the risks involved.

The sooner we can say unprotected anal sex without flinching, the sooner we can acknowledge it as the driver of HIV. When we an address the source of the problem, the sooner we can arrive at its solution.

Once upon her life, Ana P. Santos was a banker. She decided to retire early and is now a journalist reporting on women’s sexual health rights.  She is extremely happy that her current occupation requires her to talk and write about sex seriously.

Follow her on Twitter at @iamAnaSantos and on

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Take It Out of the Bedroom:10 Sex Hotspots at Home

Posted on 24. Mar, 2013 by in Sex & Relationships

By Ana Santos

There’s just something irrefutably naughty about doing it outside the bedroom.

Photo by Lily Monster via Flickr Creative Commons

Variety is the spice of life. Every couple knows that you have to turn things upside down every once in a while to keep things happy and humpin’ in the bedroom. Your man might have a fantasy that he’s been longing to try out ever since the two of you got together. Maybe you have a thing for role-playing that your guy is not aware of. Constantly looking for new ways to keep things exciting in the bedroom will do wonders for your sex life.

But one way of actually doing it is to take sex out of bed. After all, it’s not the only place for you to do the deed in. Check out these home hotspots that you can have out-of-bed adventures in:

Start your own fire in the fire escape.

Photo by Steve Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons


If you live in a condo, check out the fire escape for a getaway quickie. The stillness of the fire escape, the echo of the vertical vacuum, and the thrill of getting caught make up the formula for combustion.

Photo by sheeshoo via Flickr Creative Commons


It’s such a shame to have to end the foreplay of a tantalizing dinner and an innuendo-laden conversation just because the kids might still be up. Why not prolong a hot evening and finish your business inside the car?

If being inside the car cramps your style, get creative–not to mention nimble–with your positions. Explore other options like mutual pleasuring, so you can end your evening with a proper nightcap.

Photo by William Ward via Flickr Creative Commons


If doing the deed the inside of the car cramps your style, then get out and get busy. Make sure that the hood of the car isn’t hot anymore (keep the foreplay inside the car so the car’s engine can cool down as you two heat up) before you get on top. You’ll find out what men find so sexy about a half-naked girl on top of the hood of a car in no time.

Photo by Nicole Mays via Flickr Creative Commons


Get deliciously ticklish vibrations from having sex while on top of a washing machine. The hum of the wash and the smell of freshly laundered clothes is a mix of the innocuously clean and dirty moves you can get on in there. Talk about making multi-tasking fun.

Photo by Spring Dew via Flickr Creative Commons


There is something deliciously naughty about doing it in the shower. Never mind that your man is just about to towel himself dry. Once you use your finger to follow the trail of water droplets on his chest, he won’t hesitate to pull you back in for another round.

Photo by Gregory Han via Flickr Creative Commons


If your fantasy is power or some sort of corporate domination, then you should lock the door to your study or home office, hike up your skirt, and just get it on.

Photo by Jesse via Flickr Creative Commons


Most entertainment rooms have soft, plush sofas or cozy recliners that make it oh-so-comfortable to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. It’s also the perfect setup to sit back, and pleasure each other. The option to turn up the volume of the TV to drown out your own noise is also a bonus.

Photo by MK Campbell via Flickr Creative Commons


If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in closet in your room, enjoy the perks of the hidden little corners where you can have sex sitting down, standing up, or bent over. Getting undressed is just as fun as getting dressed when you get it on inside your walk-in closet.

Photo by Marie via Flickr Creative Commons


The kitchen table (when clean, of course) can make for an excellent alternative to a bed. You can also use it as your own buffet table where you can eat, lick, and suck off your man.

Photo by Amanda Wray via Flickr Creative Commons


Outdoor sex is a thrilling and exhilarating jolt that everyone’s sex life could use every once in a while. Don’t wait until you head off to the beach or go camping to try this out. Just head off to a secluded spot in the back of your garden and let nature take its course.

This was also published here







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The Games Adults Play

Posted on 12. Mar, 2013 by in SASsy Must-Reads, Sex & Relationships

The Games Adults Play

by Karen Fernandez


I sat on a cold, rusty metal stool.  My wrists, tightly bound above my head.  My legs, painfully spread and strapped.

Quite a change from how I sat in my executive chair a few hours ago.  In a plush corner office.  Behind a stately desk.  Surrounded by peons.

Now, I’m all alone.

From the day’s Prada power dressing, I wore nothing but a thin sheen of sweat.  That, and Louboutin stilettos.  At least, he kept the stilettos.

“I said spread them wider!”, my captor barked from behind.  Adding a loud slap to my ass that earned a fearful yelp from me and a menacing chuckle from him.

Slowly, he rounded the stool to face my shuddering form.  I can feel his eyes boring down on my nakedness and helplessness like a predator to its prey.  I dared to look up to find him smirking.  His eyes were lit with maniacal fire.  His breathing, ragged with dangerous lust.

Quite a change from how he was when I left him at home this morning.  My husband was always quiet.  Reserved.  A gentleman.

Not… this.

He impatiently pushed my legs farther apart, fast and rough.  I whimpered, feeling the sudden stretch of muscles.  And embarrassingly, the sudden wetness between my thighs.

“You like that, don’t you?  You like getting hurt?”, my husband asked with an evil grin as he yanked my leg straps and readjusted them to keep me hopelessly, horribly exposed.

When I didn’t answer, he grabbed my breasts and kneaded violently.

I screamed, tears smearing my mascara.  “Yes!  Yes!  I like getting hurt!”

“Good slave.”, he quipped, pinching my nipples.  Then he twisted them.  Tugged at them until they stretched away from my bound body.  As much as I wanted to control myself, what started out as a groan of pain escalated into moans of desire.  He laughed, taking notice of my weakness.  “Good slave.”, he repeated.

Normally, I would’ve lashed out at him for calling me a ‘slave’.  I’m a powerful VP at a huge international firm, for Christ’s sake! My husband, on the other hand, was a mere toymaker.  I am respected and feared.  Him?  He was mostly ignored.

But, not tonight.

“Thank you, master.”, I whispered, my resolve completely caving in.

This seemed to fuel his sense of supremacy.  He hurriedly peeled off his pants.  Then kicked my stool so that it tilted against the wall.  Now, my body was inclined.  A position that offered my glistening pussy to him.  My heart raced as he studied my body from this humiliating angle.  His eyes scanned the light bruises on my skin –some new, some old– from many nights of vicious lovemaking.  He was pleased.  Marking me meant victory.

Without warning, he plunged his hard, proud shaft into me.  With my juices, it easily slid like knife through butter.  I gasped, more out of thrill than surprise.  That was his cue.  He started moving.  Not in a romantic fashion expected of his usual calm demeanor.  But with the hostility that can only be likened to that of a wild animal’s.  He pumped in and out of me like an unleashed beast –grunting, drooling, spewing profanities and insults to my face as he picked up his speed, deepened his assault, and heightened his abuse. I took all of that and all of him.  In fact, if I wasn’t tied up, I would’ve bucked to meet his attacks.  Clawed at his back to let him know how hot he was making me feel.

But I wasn’t given that luxury.  I wasn’t the boss here.  I was a toy.  One of his insignificant handmade toys.

With his fingers digging into my aching opened thighs and my cries of insane pleasure filling the room, we convulsed in unison as our orgasms took us by inhumane force.  At that moment, the line between reality and fantasy blurred, just as we’ve always liked it.

Then, silence.

As soon as we came down from our beyond-contented highs, both panting for lost air, he hugged me.  Kissed me.  Tenderly.

He was back to his normal timid self when he started to carefully untie my arms and legs.  “Are you hungry?”, his voice was suddenly soft and loving.  “I can make you your favorite pasta.”  I stretched my battered body seductively, and growled, “Sure.”, I glared at him.  “And make it snappy!”

My husband jumped up and exited, excited to do my bidding.

I snickered.  I reached for my ripped clothes on the floor for a cigarette, and lit one.  I was back in control.  Until the next time when we decide to reverse roles again.

Ah, the games adults play.






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Posted on 08. Mar, 2013 by in SASsy Must-Reads, Sex & Relationships


By Nicai de Guzman


It could have been any text message, or even a punctuation mark, but today it was “Are you busy?”

“No. Want to meet up?” I replied right away.

It was the last day of work (read: crunch time!) before Christmas break. I had to oversee some props delivered back to the studio from the set… but since the hottest, most good-looking guy on campus texted me, I was obligated to jeopardize my budding career in television to spend a few hours with him.

Let’s call him A. We’ve been friends since our first year in the university, ever since he sat behind me in English class. After one semester of him teasing me with every boy in the room except himself, and me forgiving him for that time he borrowed my phone only to return it with a gallery full of his photos, we remained friends.

I had a boyfriend who was a senior that time, and I was your typical, stuck-up popular girl. A had a goofy haircut and a bad posture. It took us three more years of awkward friendship, lots of hinting, moments of missed chances, before we stumbled, drunk, into his basement studio and gave each other carpet burns from too much… friction. Pushing and pulling. Pumping and pirouetting.

By this time, A ditched the haircut, and I ditched my boyfriend. He became leader of various student activity groups, played drums for some indie bands, and worked out in the gym until he reached sex god status. When we graduated, half the girls on campus were lusting after him.

Our stumbling into dimly-lit rooms carried on after graduation, even when we started seeing other people. Neither of us talked about our other partners, but of course we heard about them from common friends.

Pretensions aside, I always felt a little stab in my chest when common friends talked about him and some new girl.

I can’t blame our friends. They don’t know about us and I preferred it stayed that way. Whenever A comes up in our conversations, I had to smile, I had to feign interest, and for my sanity, I had to suggest a change of topic. All these were part of an elaborate costume I had to wear to mask how I really felt about him.

“Oh yeah, I bought some new stuff,” I told him when we met up later that day. We were cuddling, still fully clothed, on yet another bed, in yet another hotel room.

That glint in his eyes, that usual smirk. “What is it?” he asked.

“You remember that film we watched the other day, and the girl was wearing those corsets?” I stood up and walked to the overnight bag I brought. “I found one just like the one she had.”

I took it out of the bag and showed him the black, lacey, pearl-studded corset.

“Sample! Sample!” he said as he clapped his hands. I rolled my eyes and went to change in the bathroom.

I was confident of my figure, and he has seen me naked so many times before but it was the first time I would wear a corset. Of course, I’d worn a nurse’s outfit, a Japanese schoolgirl’s uniform, a trench coat (with nothing underneath) and some other stuff, but this was the first time for a corset.

“Well?” I was blushing when I walked out of the bathroom. “What do you think?”

He just sat there, gaping at my body. “Uh… What do you want me to say?”

I appreciated the gawking, but I wanted a verbal confirmation that I’m still the gorgeous bitch he wanted back in college. I pretended to be mad so I frowned as I slid next to him on bed. I turned away from him and covered myself with the sheets.

He groaned. “Oh c’mon, what do we do now?”

“Sleep,” I said. He groaned some more.

“You know, it’s kind of unfair that I’m the only one who stripped into this and you didn’t,” I mumbled from under the sheets.

“Oh, that’s all I have to do?” He immediately took off his shirt and tossed it onto a nearby table. He did the same with his jeans.

“And now?” His bulge was extremely difficult to ignore.

“I told you, we sleep,” I said.

He slid under the covers and we spooned. He was silent for some time then I felt him rubbing his erection on my ass.

“I love it when you wear thongs,” he whispered.

I had to cover my mouth so he wouldn’t hear me moaning. After some time, I started to follow the rhythm of his rubbing.

“I thought we were just going to sleep?” he asked, teasing. He kissed my nape and bit my shoulder.

“Fuck sleeping,” I said. I sat up and took his underwear off.

I blowed him and he got even bigger and harder in my mouth. When I heard his panting get faster, I stopped. I slid my thongs off and mounted him.

I let my moan escape this time.

“Came already?” he asked.

I nodded and bit my lower lip. “‘You’re so big…”

He smiled. He squeezed my nipples through the corset. I let out another moan.

“Can you still move?” he asked, with a hint of concern in his voice.

“Yeah… I’m kinda sensitive though,” I said.

So I kept on riding him, but every once in a while I’d stop and come again.

“Now that’s unfair,” he said. He pulled me down to his chest and pumped from underneath me. He pumped faster and faster, then I heard him say “Shit!” and pull out.

I looked down and there was cum all over the front side of the corset.

He steadied his breathing and saw the cum graffiti on the lingerie. He apologized and I said it was okay.

“I brought more stuff to change into, anyway,” I said.

He pinched my cheek. “You went to that lingerie store again? The one that sold the costumes and stuff?”

He laughed. “I seriously wonder if you think you’re going to a fashion show when you’re just going to see me,” he said.

I pouted. “But I like changing into these costumes…Oh, I also brought that Lolita nightie I wore for my creative shot. And I can put my hair up in pig tails. I know how much you like that.”

I got up and took off the corset. I went to my bag and got my nightie and a pair of red scrunchies.

“I’m just not sure if this look would work on my hair since it’s a lot shorter now,” I said.

I was about to enter the bathroom when he called me.

“Come here, just stay beside me for a while,” he said.

So I cuddled up next to him, and surprisingly, he held my hand.

I wouldn’t call it an uncomfortable silence, those minutes we just held hands. It felt so… natural. Organic. Like lying there, side-by-side while holding hands and completely naked was the most natural thing in the world. I felt like I was on the hem of an epiphany when my complete nakedness shocked me. In this interstice when I was supposed to change into my next ensemble, when I was completely naked, I allowed him to command me.

“I…” he started to say and then sighed.

“You’re really cute,” he finally said. “Even without those costumes.”

Then he pulled me close and kissed my forehead.

I could feel my cheeks getting hot. “Well, you’re really cute, too… And if you’ll excuse me, I have to change into this nightie.”

My heart was racing when I entered the bathroom. What was that about? But I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it, whatever it was.

I checked the clock and counted the hours before our time was up.

The truth is, I was sad we only had several hours to wear these costumes. Just several hours, several excuses, so we can hide from the world, from our partners, from our friends… and pretend to be whoever we want to be.

If we’re lucky enough, or brave enough, maybe even ourselves.#


Photo via Phillip Ritchie Photography

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SASsy 6 Series: 6 things I wish my mother told me about love, men and sex

Posted on 13. Feb, 2013 by in Sex & Relationships

SASsy 6 Series: 6 things I wish my mother told me about love, men and sex


1. Love is nothing without commitment.

Love is romantic, heart-melting and knee buckling–which is great. Unfortunately, it is also a fluctuating emotion. Look for someone who will not only love you, but commit to you when you’re PMS-ing, not very lovable and every other day in between. It’s those ‘in-between days’ that will make for a relationship’s lasting power.

2. There is a distinct difference between a good relationship and a bad one.

A relationship–any relationship–will change you. But a good relationship is one that will inspire you, move you and compel you to be a better version of you.

3. A man–or any other person–does not complete you. You complete yourself.

Your happiness should never be dependent on another person. Be the one who makes you happy, love yourself and relish in the feeling of being whole that it gives you.

4. A man is not a financial plan.

Gone are the days when women needed marriage / a relationship for financial security or protection. A woman can now have a career and make her own financial plan–and plan her life–on her own terms.

5. He’s a keeper if you can  do three things freely (and enjoyably) with him–

* Talk to: whether it’s about the provisions of the Geneva Convention or some inane thing that happened during your day, he’ll want to listen and you’ll want to share. (And do the same for him, too.)

* Be quiet with: There are times when neither of you want to talk, but just be in each other’s quiet company. That’s ok, because how many people can you really, truly enjoy a comfortable silence with?

*Fuck: Yup, fuck. And when you want something more sedate, make love to. The One will know will the difference between the two and won’t hold it against you if you want alternating versions of both.

6. You will get your heart bruised, sometimes broken even. Suck it up.

Your heart may get knocked around a bit with the hits and misses, sometimes you’ll feel devastated. Your ego may be bruised and your heart may get broken, just always make sure your self-worth and your SASsy spirit remain intact.

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[Dash of SAS] Sex at the drop of a tweet or a like

Posted on 01. Feb, 2013 by in Sex & Relationships

[Dash of SAS] Sex at the drop of a tweet or a like


My friend inspected the inside of the men’s room, held the door open for us and then took his place standing guard by the door.

“Ok, no one’s in there. You can go in,” he whispered urgently. “Check out the back of the door of the last cubicle.”

My other (girl) friend and I weren’t in the men’s room because we badly needed the potty and the girls’ room was full.

We were on a research mission. Mario Balibago, from the UNFPA, our guard at the door had just finished telling us about how hooking up with someone was as easy as messaging a mobile number scrawled on the back of a bathroom door.

A random text, a simple exchange of pleasantries, and then a meet up which would almost always lead to an exchange of bodily fluids. (Hopefully, a condom made it somewhere into this consummation on high on fast-forward.)

To prove this theory, Mario took us to the men’s room where we could see the numbers for ourselves. He took us to this particular bathroom in one of the city’s hotels, saying it was a good example. “The doors are from floor to ceiling,” he said or rather showed, how this little design detail would hide two sets of feet occupying a single cubicle.

Where phone numbers scrawled in various parts of the bathroom used to be juvenile pranks you would play on your worst enemy or best frenemy, it was now a way of social networking.

It was unfortunate that there had been an obvious attempt to scrub down the numbers. We could no longer make out a complete 11-digit mobile number and test this theory further.

“But you can also check Twitter,” quipped Mario.

It turns out that bathroom doors were just the edge of this bed sheet.

#Hashtags as pick up lines

Twitter, apart from its other functions of crowdsourcing and breaking news, is also an online, more-direct-to-the-point “meet market.”

Unlike Facebook which censors photographs, you can locate photos of various body parts in turgid poses using explicit hashtags like #tigasxxxx.

Account handles like “@chupa_mo-ako” leave nothing to the imagination.

“Online has taken the place of bars and clubs. You can scour profiles, find someone interesting, PM, DM or tweet them without the fear of rejection. Your message can go ignored or may even be declined, but so what? No one really knows who you are,” explained C, a thirty-something corporate executive who says that going online has made dating easy, uncomplicated and convenient.

C has hooked up with people online for casual hook ups, some of which have turned into relationships.

The online meet market has obliterated the awkward moments of what to say after a face-to-face “no.”

There already existed ICQ and other chatrooms before, but now with the complement of smart phones where you can be online all the time accessing Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, you can hook up in 140-characters or less or get laid using a hashtag or clicking on “like.”

Facebook: Making friends with PSPs

Mitch is addicted to Facebook for another similar reason.

Mitch is a college student who moonlights as a personal services provider (PSP); she receives payment for going out on walks with “guests” or “Js.”

In the PSP world, those 3 words are euphemisms or jargon – depending on how you want to look at it – that guide business transactions.

“I do it because I need money to go to school. And because the money is easy,” said the 18-year-old, who began going out on “walks” at 15. “Mga one or two walks a week lang ako, makaka-P8,000 to P10,000 na ako.”

Advertising her services online saves her time, she said. “I don’t have to walk the streets or hang out at bars waiting for a guest. When I’m contacted, yun na yun.”

It limits the small talk to the essentials: how much, how long, and what services are offered. Terms and conditions like transportation subsidy (an amount paid to cover a PSP’s transportation to and from a meeting place) and a cancelation fee (a guest may be asked to pay a certain percentage of the contract price if he backs out to cover the PSPs transportation expenses and opportunity cost at losing other guests.)

It also serves as an avenue to get repeat guests based on the review from previous ones. “I ask my clients to post an FR (field report) on my profile if they like my service.”

The field report is how PSPs are rated by Js on a scale of 1 to 10 on areas like face, body, attitude and how well they are able to perform oral sex. These field reports are posted on their profile page or in the forums and serve as “reviews.”

For sure, the risks that surround the oldest trade in the book are still there. Mitch says she was once attacked by a J who thought she stole money from his wallet. The memory still angers her today, “xxx niya, alam ko ganito ako, pero hindi ako pinalaki ng nanay ko na magnanakaw.” (I know I’m like this but I wasn’t raised by my mother as a thief.)

For those who want a bigger share of the profit, it cuts out the middlemen and it saves time that could best be spent on other things…which in Mitch’s case, means going to school or hanging out with her boyfriend who has no idea what she does on the side.

Ah, the complexities of this virtual red light district created by this online environment. It has made connecting much easier, but it has also blurred the lines of online dating, casual sex, and prostitution.

This was also published here

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10 Ways not to f*ck up a first date

Posted on 24. Jan, 2013 by in Sex & Relationships

10 Ways not to f*ck up a first date

So, you finally got your boxers out of the wad they were stuck in and asked her out on a first date. Depending on how long it took you to ask her, our reactions would be:  “good for you” or “it’s about time”.

But as the phrase implies, the first date is simply the “first” and not nearly the end of it. Asking and getting her to say yes is just the first hurdle of this getting-to-know-you mating call. You have the rest of the evening to make a fool out of yourself or impress her enough to want to go on a second date. And assuming that you also want to go out on a second date, here are the cardinal rules about how not to f*ck up the first one.

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1.    No distractions, no looking (at other women), no nothing – it’s all about her

It’s a date, dude. It comes with a short-term guarantee of a maximum three hours of monogamy. THREE hours—just about the same time it takes to watch a movie, check in and out of a motel, the number of hours it takes you to get to Makati from Quezon City. During those three hours, you are obliged to be polite, attentive and adhere to all the first tier tenets of monogamy. So do not text while having dinner, do not go on-line to update your Facebook status, and do not, for the love of god(dess), check out other women.

Violate this short-term monogamy creed and be called a jerk.

2. No touching, no fondling, no sex

Go from jerk to prick in less than three hours is easy.  You just let your prick do the thinking for you. You let your hand wander where it shouldn’t, make too many not-very-innocent-remarks about what you like in between the sheets or even remotely try to bring her home with you.

And you want to know a secret?

If she wants to get rid of you—like she never wants to see the likes of you again after–she will have sex with you on the first date.  You’ll be another notch on her bedpost to tell her friends about. Trust me, she’s not going to be too impressed that you, like all the other men in this world, are so predictable. And for us ladies, that’s worse than be easy to bed.

3. No to being over eager to please and to being a yes man.

Sure, you want to impress her and show her that chivalry isn’t dead. So pull out her chair for her and open the goddamn door. No need to trip over your own feet to make way for her when walking or–the height of being pussy-whipped–carrying her bag. Didn’t you get the memo, dude? Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice—NOT glass.

4. No to being a cheapo

The first date is not the time or place to be a smart shopper or diner. Sound like common sense? Uh no. Take for instance, my friend Misha. She was thrilled when a younger guy from the office asked her out. Thoughts of “still having it” bloated her ego, quickly deflated during dinner when the younger guy kept going on and on about how low his salary was. “It made me feel guilty for ordering something on the menu, fearful that I would eat up two weeks of his paycheck,” says Misha.

And to make matters worse, when the bill came, he paid with credit card but only for his share. “He was very apologetic in saying that he had just paid for his credit card, which he had just maxed out. He was worried that his transaction would be declined…and asked me if it would be alright if I paid for my order,” recalls Misha. “Now, I can laugh about it. But back then, I really wanted to slap him and tell him to pick on girls within his own pay grade.”

Needless to say, Misha never picked up the younger dude’s calls or answered his messages….even if it was to give career advice.

5. No to not telling her where you’re taking her on this first date

Lots of men don’t get it, and for purposes of this article, we’re assuming you don’t either. We women don’t dress up for you. We dress up for the other people – most especially the women who will notice every little crinkle or crease in our clothes or on our face and will never forget that we wore last season’s dress to this season’s event. So you have to tell us where we’re going and what we will be doing so we dress appropriately. You’re not going to like us much when we’ve been standing all night in our stiletto-clad feet the whole night for a concert. Hell, we wouldn’t like ourselves very much either.

6. No to TMI

Yes, there is such a thing as too much information—especially on the first date. We don’t want to hear about your definition of love, or how you were potty trained before you even learned how to walk. Keep all of that not-nice-to-know-won’t-make-a-difference-in-our-lives information to yourself. Forget about trying to look like a deep sensitive guy and spilling your guts. Keep us guessing about what you’re really like and we’ll keep you in mind for another date.

7. No to bringing out the EX-Files and the EX-Box.

We really don’t know want to know about your ex on the first date and that goes for all possible variations of the way you want to talk about her. Like, if she was the one who got away or the bitch who didn’t know a good thing when she had one. We have just as many ways of saying, “Asshole, please. You have more issues than Vogue.”

8. No to being arrogant

If you have to brag about your accomplishments, then you’re going to be tagged as insecure and attention deficient, i.e. you didn’t get enough [attention] at home, school and at work—in that order.  Brag about your accomplishments only if you’re discovered the cure for Cancer or found a way to make rocket science E-A-S-Y. Otherwise, you’re going to be tagged as a high-maintenance, needy, insecure boylet who needs to be patted on the head every time he’s able to roll over.  That’s exactly the perfect reason she won’t go out with you on a second date.

9. No to being a slob

Manners and common sense will tell you not to yawn, not to burp or pick your teeth, nose or groin area in public. So don’t the hell do it when you’re on a date—first, second or otherwise. It’s just gross. If whatever it is that has you fidgeting needs to be addressed, head to the bathroom and do it in private—pronto.

10. No to whining

Yes, traffic is a bitch. Yes, your job sucks and your boss is a major pain in the ass. Be a man and suck it up. The only kind of whining that should go with this dining is white or red—wine, that is.

This was also published in UNO Magazine. 

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