I'm conducting a study for Chronic Sex since, you know, I have to present at Stanford soon.

Yeah, the nerves are hitting.

Can you help me out and fill out the anonymous Survey Monkey here?

I love you bunches!

Chat Questions for August 25, 2016

Tonight, we're talking about finding and using our voice with loved ones.

Q1: Please introduce yourself in a way you’re comfortable sharing

Tonight, we’re going to talk about finding our voice in any relationship. Keep in mind that when I say ‘loved ones’ that can mean whatever it needs to for you - partners, family, friends, etc.

Q2: Do you feel like you can vocalize needs, wants, and concerns with loved ones?

Q3: Do you feel supported in regards to your health, your self-esteem, and the like by your loved ones?

Q4: When a loved one makes a judgmental or hurtful comment, are you able to stand up for yourself?

Q5: Do you have any tips for how to deal with judgmental comments or not let them get to you?

Q6: What is your favorite thing about the changing of seasons coming up?

Movies That Make Us Feel Good

Many things in our lives can have an effect on or influence how we regard ourselves - our relationships, societal expectations, and the media we consume.

Today, let's explore some of our favorite feel-good movies.

Tasha says something about singing as a super villain is empowering.

Netty wants her own Baymax to take care of her, and I do, too!

Erik says it's the perfect distraction from worries.

Kit says this is because of its innocent hopefulness.

Shaunia says this is due to how hilarious it is.

Chelsea says that she loves how the movie acknowledges that everyone has particular quirks, and that love and friendship are all about finding the people who fit your quirks. She also loves how the good deeds evolved.

Julie suggested this and I totally agree!

What are some of your favorite feel-good movies?

Chat Questions August 18, 2016

This week, we're talking self-esteem:

Q1: Please introduce yourself in a way you’re comfortable sharing

Tonight, we’re going to talk about how our chronic illness or disability affect self-esteem

Q2: How do you feel about yourself currently? Do you have high, low, or middle-ish self-esteem?

Q3: How much do you feel like chronic illness and disability affect your self-esteem - little, meh, or DAMN?

Q4: Have you found any tips and tricks to improve self-esteem despite chronic illness & disability?

Q5: If you could talk to newly-diagnosed you, what would you say to help them with self-esteem?

Q6: What badass thing did you accomplish this week?

Top 10 Symptoms You May Have If You Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Broken is the pseudonym for the author of blog posts on who can trace the beginning of her sexual dysfunction to almost 10 years ago. After 8 years of self-advocacy and numerous doctors, she was able to get to a physician who was willing to listen to her complaints and actually understand them. Her husband also suffers from a rare neurological disorder called S.U.N.C.T. so she's no stranger to problems that occur in the bedroom through no fault of your own. I've invited her to speak to you about the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. It is an affliction that a can affect men and women and is, more often than not, misdiagnosed in nearly 85% of all cases. Please read what she has to say.

"Top 10" with top in red and ten in large gold digits
Sam Churchill/Flickr (via

Top 10 Symptoms You May Have If You Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

1. Inability to Orgasm
The frustration of this symptom knows no bounds. The desire is there. The arousal is there. All of the parts that make sex work for you are present, but you're always at the edge of the cliff and can't quite fall over. For me, that started nearly 10 years ago. I incorrectly attributed this dysfunction as stressing out over the fact that we moved in with my husband's elderly father in a home with very thin walls. I thought this was why I couldn't relax enough to enjoy our interludes. It progressed steadily to the point of being ready to make the fall off the orgasmic cliff peak, but it steadily progressed to pain - a cramp in the vicinity of my butt cheek, thigh or hip. Then I was done. Kaput. Finished. End Scene.

2. Pulling of Internal Scar Tissue
If you have ever had a child, a miscarriage, an abortion, have had a hysterectomy or any other surgical procedures on your lady parts, there is minimal evidence of these ordeals visible to the naked eye unless you're looking for them. The internal damage can't be seen but it can be felt and it shouldn't. The scar tissue will occasionally pull. You'll feel a twinge or a pinch internally when you stretch, or sneeze or maybe even laugh too long. This is not normal and should be mentioned to your health care provider. Preferably a physician whose sole practice revolves around issues of women's health. Ask about your pelvic wall.

3. Painful Penetration During Intercourse
Your vagina and muscles of the pelvic wall have elasticity. It's what allows a baby's head to pass through the birth canal and enter the world. So there's no reason a penis shouldn't fit no matter its width or girth. If at any time entry becomes more difficult than you normally experience, the likely culprit is pelvic wall muscles that have the inability to relax. This is true for both vaginal and anal sex. With enough lubricant, insertion is possible. However, each successive encounter will become increasingly more difficult.

4. Radiating Pain
Pain that is all encompassing in your rump but travels. Up to your low back, down the back of the thigh but not past your knee. It can also travel sideways to involve the hip joint or close to the anus. Wiping after a bowel movement can be painful. This symptom is where a surplus of misdiagnosis occurs. It mimics any condition associated with sciatica and other pinched nerve syndromes.

5. Pain Bone Deep
I had the most difficult time trying to explain to my Orthopedist who misdiagnosed my condition as Sciatica that the pain in my ass hurt so bad it went bone deep. Discussing this with my Physiatrist, she says this is a common complaint. The bones connected to your pelvic wall hurt beyond my ability to properly describe without using language more commonly suited for sailor's. It's pretty much constant, and at my worst I went 4 days without a wink of shut-eye. Walking, sitting, on your stomach, kneeling, or flat on your back, there is no relief. My husband would boil water to pour in the bathtub so I could sit in water as hot as I could stand it. The relief lasted for only as long as I was in the tub. The medications I was taking didn't provide any relief at all.

  picture of a model of  the muscles of the pelvic wall - minus bladder and reproductive organs - After Darkk
A picture of a model of the muscles of the pelvic wall, sans bladder and reproductive organs
6. Unexplained Lower Back Pain
Your back hurts. For no apparent reason, and not every day, you have low back pain. It really is surprising how many other muscles are attached to the pelvic floor. The pain could be from full kidneys because you can't void or from full bowels because you can't eliminate. However, your unexplained low back pain could be an early warning sign if you don't have any of the other symptoms. If you have other symptoms, make sure you communicate effectively with your health care provider.

7. Inability to Void Your Bladder
Overactive bladder urge is a common symptom with pelvic floor dysfunction. You feel as if you need to go frequently, but no matter how hard you try, you get no relief. No amount of straining will provide relief. Some women have such severe pelvic wall dysfunction they have to use a catheter at home. Never, under any circumstances, should you ever need to use your abdominal muscles to push urine from your bladder. If this is a something you have to do in order to urinate, mention this problem to a health care provider.

8. Inability to Eliminate Your Bowels
Constipation takes on a whole new meaning. There's not enough Metamucil in the world to provide aid. Your flat abs start looking like food belly. Or in your second trimester of pregnancy. This can cause secondary health issues if the condition is prolonged. The health experts say a person should have at least one good bowel movement a day. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing good about a bowel movement. Straining to have a bowel movement isn't uncommon but coming up rabbit pellets is an indication something is wrong.

9. Weight Gain and Fluid Retention
Stepping on a scale and seeing almost 30 pounds extra in a 90-day window can be quite shocking. Both for the person standing on the scale and the doctor reviewing your health records. The unusual part, and yet another warning sign, is that your sizes stay the same. You won't need bigger britches or a bigger bra. You may need a bigger ring or a more comfortable shoe. It's water weight from the inability to void your bladder. My weight will fluctuate nearly 15 pounds either way on any given day depending on my ability to use the bathroom.

10. Painful Pap Smears
One of the things I've learned through all of this which left me hanging my jaw open in speechlessness was this: Did you know there is absolutely no medical necessary reason under the sun for any physician to perform a Pap smear using a Speculum? They can be done without them. Since the birth of my first child, I have absolutely detested going to for a Pap smear because they hurt. The Qtip to gather tissue didn't bother me at all. It was the insertion of the speculum, then the spreading of the medical device. My DPT teaches classes on this noninvasive technique. If pain during a Pap smear is something you experience, there is no need. Make a few telephone calls and find a physician in your area who can do them without using a speculum.

I would like to thank Kirsten for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. My hope is the readers have said no to all of these numbered symptoms. If you answered yes to even one of them, please consider an evaluation by a pelvic health expert.

Head on over to my homepage and subscribe to my blog for great posts on pelvic wall dysfunction, sexual wellness, relationships, personal pleasure device reviews, and author recommendations. Subscribe for updates if you'd like. You can also follow me on Twitter @afterrdarkk.

Broken, After Dark

No Chat This Week August 11, 2016

No chat this week as Mariah and Kirsten are off to talk sex to the Young Adult track (18+) at the Juvenile Arthritis Conference East in Philly this weekend!

When we're back (for a while, haha), we'll recap our experiences of talking to this age group at both the West and East JA conferences about sex with arthritis.

Calling for Chronic Sex Podcast Guests!

Do YOU want to be featured on the Chronic Sex podcast?

Yep, I'm finally getting my butt in gear.

If you'd like to come on, all I ask is that you email me here ( with the topic(s) you're interested in discussing. We'll talk a little bit from there and I'll send you a link to the call scheduling site where you'll pick a 90-minute time slot for me to call you in.

We may not talk for the whole time, but hey - who knows!

You can choose to be public about your appearance, share only your first name with the audience, or go by a pseudonym/initial. I know that many people have careers or families that don't always embrace such public speaking about some taboo subjects. I would also love if you let me know any topics you want to avoid or triggers you may have.

Basically, I want you to feel as comfortable, amazing, and loved as possible.

I am so excited to get this going and we really have some fantastic guests lined up already. I hope that you can be one of them, too!