Sunday, October 28, 2007

Buy some raffle tickets!!!

Here's the dope: some wonderful, generous people have donated some really groovy stuff to support the Fertility Awareness Center. You can buy tickets online, and/or at the benefit. Winners will be picked at the benefit on 11/27 (see BENEFIT post, below this long one). The great thing about this raffle is that you can enter for just the prize(s) you want to win. If your heart is set on one of those beautiful lucite purses from the 1950's, put all your tickets in that pool. Or, if you can't decide between the bodywork session or the class at Babeland, and part of you just really wants that biscotti, distribute your tickets between all three. Most of the prizes are things that can be shipped, so if you don't live in or near New York, don't fret! You can still participate. And we've made the tickets affordable so that you can buy a bunch:

1 ticket - $3
2 tickets - $5
5 tickets - $10

Prizes are described below. Pick what you want, then go to Paypal and send us some money! Here's how you do it:
  • Go to PayPal.
  • Log in (or create account).
  • Click on "send money" tab.
  • Enter our email address -
  • Specify the amount you want to send, based on prices, above.
  • Choose one of the options in the "for" menu - service/other or goods - doesn't matter which.
  • Click "continue."
  • On the next page you will see "message to recipient." For subject, please put "raffle tickets." For message, here's the important part - tell us what you're trying to win!!! You can say "5 for x, 3 for y," or, if you're feeling lucky, "1 for z." Every bit helps!
  • Don't forget to click the "send money" button :)
  • You will receive a confirmation from PayPal.
And now for the prizes!

(1) 90 minute essential oil restorative bodywork session. Ahhhhhhhh. Union Square area. Expiration date 1/31/07. (New York area only)

(2) $50 gift certificate to Flower Power , an Herbal apothecary, staffed with caring, knowledgeable herbalists offering the highest quality organically grown medicinal herbs. Can be used online or at store.

(3) $30 certificate good for one workshop at Babeland. Workshops cover a variety of topics related to sexuality. Take a class at Babeland University and get smarter in all the right ways! Note: we have 2 of these certificates, so 2 people can win this one. (New York area only)

(4) Yummy hazelnut biscotti from 'n Joy Sweets & Pastries. 24 pieces, will keep for several weeks (right - like you're not going to eat them before then).

Now, are you ready for the antiques? Deco Etc (122 W 25th Street, 212.675.3326) has made an amazing donation of some truly unique & beautiful items.

(5) One of two lucite purses, both from the 1950's. This first one is perfectly clear with a gold-colored clasp. It's about 8.75" long, 4.25" wide, and just over 3" deep, and is in the shape of a long octagon. Lucite is lightweight and easy to care for. And you'll always be able to find your cell phone! Please refer to this as "clear lucite purse" if you're going for it. Antiques are often not perfect - one handle seems to have been replaced and is translucent, rather than clear.

(6) The second purse is also lucite, but this one is red, in an imitation tortoiseshell pattern with what looks like brass trim. 8" long, 4.25" wide, 3" high. Some overzealous fashionista tried to clean this purse with vinegar, and now it has a faint eau-de-salad, mostly noticeable when you open it. Do not clean your purse with vinegar! Plain water will do nicely, or a glass cleaner mixed half & half w/water if you need something stronger. Carry a scented handkerchief and no one will notice. Please refer to this as "red lucite purse" in your entry.

(7) Our last item is a beautiful old desk clock, probably from the 1930's, maybe 40's. Face plate is lucite, with a black dial with gold numbers set against a larger clear panel. The dial itself is a brass-colored metal. This clock has to be wound, and it makes a ticking noise that most of you young'ns are probably unfamiliar with. It has an alarm, which also works, but I wouldn't count on it for anything important. If you win this clock, and you love it, you should take it in to a professional for a cleaning & general tuneup (in particular to get it to run faster). Antique clocks need a bit of periodic maintenance as they work on mechanical bits like springs and gears. But how many of your little electric alarm clock/iPod docking wonders are going to be around & working in 70 years?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lighten Up, Take It Off!
A Night of Comedy & Burlesque to Benefit the Fertility Awareness Center

You are NOT going to want to miss this. Top-notch comedy & burlesque, fabulous food and libations. And did we mention the raffle prizes??

Tuesday, 11/27 at 8PM.
The Living Theatre, 21 Clinton Street, Manhattan
F train to 2nd Ave (use 1st Ave exit, walk East on Houston, make right on Clinton)
or F train to Delancey Street

buy tickets here

Hosted by the incomparable Howlin Vic, as Liza (with a Z), performers include:


Fetchin' Gretchen
Baronass Von Harmer
JZ Bich

Brooke Van Poppelen
Queefer Sutherland
Giulia Rozzi
Margot Leitman

and sideshow man Sam Conway.

Tickets are $40 advance, $45 at the door. You can do us a big favor by buying your tickets in advance, so we know how much food & drink to get for y'all. And again, here's where you can do that:
Brown Paper Tickets

Now let's talk about those raffle tickets! Note: if you can't attend the benefit, buying some raffle tickets is a great way to support our work. Most of the prizes can be shipped. Please see the RAFFLE post for all the details.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Thanks to board member Melissa King for having the idea for this blog and for setting it up. Even though I said I would never have a blog.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Books of Note

On 10/31/06, Toni Weschler somehow managed to come out with two books at the same time.

One was a tenth anniversary, updated edition of her landmark book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

The other book was Cycle Savvy, a book about Fertility Awareness for teens (minus the birth control and pregnancy achievement parts).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Share the Love - FAC’s first benefit leads to projector purchase

On 2/14/07, we held our first benefit, which we called “Share the Love.” Largely organized by FAC’s new board president, Autumn Brown, the event was held at The Stroll, an eco-friendly clothing store located in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn ( The Stroll is affiliated with the nearby Habana Outpost ( Habana Outpost is NY’s first eco-eatery, and they really walk the talk. Part of their mission is to facilitate community – hence how we ended up there. Sofia Santana, the manager of The Stroll, was unbelievably helpful; we could not have pulled this off without her.

Despite the inclement weather (remember the Valentine’s Day slush-storm?), we had a full house. We were entertained by Aisling Roche, Amelia, Keith Otten, Onome, and Zahava. Some lucky raffle winners walked away with fabulous prizes, most of which were donated by supporters, including Melissa King, Bluestockings Bookstore, Lagusta’s Luscious, and The Stroll.

We’re very happy to say that as a result of the benefit, we were able to purchase an LCD projector. This is something we’ve wanted for a long time, as having one means that we can now teach our workshops, and give lectures, pretty much anywhere. Most facilities, particularly non-corporate community spaces, do not have projectors, and getting one is often a stumbling block to giving a presentation. While we are lucky enough to have a projector available to us at the Continuum Center, where we currently teach our classes, we are excited about the possibility of teaching in other locations, both here in NY as well as elsewhere.

Thank you so much to everyone who made the benefit possible, and to all of you who came out and supported us, or who made donations We had a great time and are looking forward to our next one.

Film - Power and Passion: The Technology of Orgasm

On July 28th, I attended the premiere of Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm at Lincoln Center. This new documentary by Emiko Omori & Wendy Slick has what seems like a rather esoteric topic as its subject matter: the history of the vibrator. But the filmmakers do an extraordinary job of placing this history within the context of feminism, by examining the different ways that women’s sexuality and pleasure have been viewed over the years. The movie is based on a book of the same name by historian Rachel Maines, and the filmmakers enriched that story by incorporating interviews with several women who themselves made history. They did so by making vibrators available to women, and by actively teaching women that they could have orgasms, even if they weren’t getting them from their partners, or if they had no partner. To my immense delight, some of these women were there at the opening, and participated in a brief Q&A after the screening. Alongside Professor Maines, the directors, and the comedian Reno (who provided some of the film’s funniest moments), stood Betty Dodson and Dell Williams. Betty Dodson is well-known for her books & workshops, which together have taught countless women how to masturbate (without guilt). Dell Williams facilitated that process by opening Eve’s Garden, a store where women could buy vibrators & be educated about their use in a safe, non-sleazy environment. Now, we take these things for granted, but back in the 60’s & 70’s, this was very, very radical stuff, bound up intrinsically with the women’s rights movement. Betty and Dell are in their 70’s and 80’s respectively, and while Betty in particular continues to be very active and Eve’s Garden is still open, it was absolutely wonderful to see them there, at the premiere of a movie that places them in their proper historical context. Unfortunately, one of the women whose story was featured could not be in attendance. This woman, the most solid citizen you can imagine, sold vibrators in Texas, one of four states which still prohibits the sale of sex toys. Without giving away all of her story, I can tell you that it ended badly, and the filmmakers told us that they have no idea where she is today.

You can read more about the film, and buy a copy of it, here:

For more on Betty Dodson, see her website (note: contains explicit sexual material some may find offensive):

And to explore Eve’s Garden:


The Fertility Awareness Center would love to have a copy of Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm for our library!

Can you help us out? A copy costs $30. Donations received beyond the cost of the film will go toward other library purchases. Just put “library” in the comments section of PayPal, or in the memo line of your check. Thank you!


Our address for sending donations via PayPal is

(2) or use our snailmail address:

Fertility Awareness Center
PO Box 1190
New York, NY 10009-1190

US Statistics re Sex Education

Percentage of teens receiving formal education regarding birth control:
1995 – 87%
2002 – 70%

Percentage of teens receiving abstinence-only sex education (no information regarding contraception):
1995 – 8%
2002 – 21% of females, 24% of males

Percentage of sex education instructors teaching abstinence as only way to prevent pregnancy and STIs:
1988 – 2%
1999 – 25%

Percentage of Americans who believe that students should be taught about both abstinence as well as other methods of preventing pregnancy and STIs:

Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute

The Vagina Festival

In addition to the aforementioned benefit, Ilene also participated in the Vagina Festival. The Vagina Festival was a performance and art event that took place February 16-18, 2007, at the Agni Gallery, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Organized by Alexandra Jacoby, the Vagina Festival was held in conjunction with V-Day, an enormous project born out of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues which focuses on ending violence against women. Two performances of the Vagina Monologues took place at the Vagina Festival. I was one of several presenters who did informational, as opposed to arts, presentations. I gave a short introduction to Fertility Awareness, entitled “Do You Know What’s In Your Underwear?” It was a unique and fun experience to give my talk in the presence of 60 or so V-Portraits, photos of vulvas, taken by Alexandra. She is working on a book of these portraits. For more info about her work, and to learn about upcoming exhibitions, see her extensive website:

For info on Vag Fest 2008, visit the website and sign up for the mailing list:

(Astute readers of the vaginaverite website will notice that Alexandra often uses the word “vagina” instead of the anatomically correct term “vulva.” We have had extensive & interesting conversations about this and she discusses this on the anatomy page of her website.)