Lena Chen

is a reluctant sexpert, a feminist and queer activist, and a walking case study on bad publicity. Once called the "self-appointed poster girl for ... brainy girls gone wild", she authored the blog Sex and the Ivy about her misadventures and sexcapades as a Harvard undergrad. Her reputation has never quite recovered.


Catch me on the above HuffPost Live segment talking about the United Nations declaring contraception a human right. To which extent are nations like the United States fulfilling this so-called “right”? Has health care reform alleviated reproductive health costs or do people continue to make compromises on their sexual health?

This winter, I’m working on a series of articles related to the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the sexual life and health of Americans. Have you benefited as a result of the new provisions or are you still struggling to find affordable, reliable reproductive health services? What kind of trade-offs do you make as a consumer (generic vs. brand-name birth control)? If you’d like to share your experiences on paying for and accessing reproductive care (including but not limited to birth control, emergency contraception, STI testing, vaccination for HPV, and preventative screenings such as those for cancer), please get in touch with me at lena [at] lenachen [dot] com. I’d love to chat!

(Source: The Huffington Post, via lenachen)


It’s the debut of Sexy Times, my new web series airing weekly on Alloy Digital’s gURL.com! So I filmed this way back in the fall of 2011 - and while I think the opening credits and overall editing are rocking and SO worth the pain, I remember a brutal shoot in which I sweat like a pig and thought, “These hot lights rival Bikram yoga in intensity.” Glad that part of the ordeal stayed on the cutting room floor …

Check out episode numero uno (above) on what to do when you want to use a condom but your partner doesn’t, let me know what you think (pretty please!), and keep an eye out on a new clip every Friday with some handy sex and relationship tips.

Hint hint: gURL.com’s target demo is younger girls and teens, but I like to think that I give all-ages advice ;)

(Source: lenachen)


Bedsider.org Is Here For All Your Contraceptive Needs

As many of you know, the National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has been a client of mine for the past two years. Today, they are launching Bedsider.org, and I’m SUPER EXCITED to introduce such a relatable and valuable resource to you guys. Given the litany of contraceptive options out there, it can be intimidating to navigate those waters on your own. Birth control is one of the number one topics that I get questions about. I hope that Bedsider will offer the answers I can’t, while allowing you to hear from real users themselves.

In coming weeks, the National Campaign, in collaboration with the Ad Council, will distribute Bedsider PSAs to more than 33,000 media outlets (in television, radio, print, and web) as part of the first-ever multimedia public service campaign aimed at addressing unplanned pregnancy among young women in America. Bedsider, a comprehensive online and mobile program, helps sexually active women 18-24 find the right birth control method for them and use it carefully and consistently in an effort to prevent unplanned pregnancy. At Bedsider, visitors can explore, compare, and contrast all available methods of contraception, set up birth control and appointment reminders, view videos of their peers discussing personal experiences, and view animated shorts that debunk myths about birth control.

Some of my previous writing for SexReally has already begun appearing on the Bedsider blog. I can’t wait to share the new ways I’ll be working with them in the months to come :)

(Source: lenachen)


Split The Tab! Negotiating Contraceptive Equality In Relationships | Sex Really

To recap the latest in contraceptive news: the new birth control legislation will provide free coverage for many Americans, but there are still plenty of folks who won’t qualify. If you’re one of the unlucky people without full coverage, you might want to consider talking to your partner about splitting the bill. That’s the subject of my latest webisode for Sex Really, and it’s a pretty tricky one to tackle. When I write for teen audiences, I frequently get asked, “How do I know if I’m ready for sex?” and as a general rule of thumb, I think if you’re not ready to talk about sex and its ramifications, then you’re not ready to be having it. One can apply that to relationships too — you should be getting down with people with whom you can discuss What Ifs and sexual histories and preferred condom brands! That said, the reality is that there are such things as stranger sex and ill-defined faux-mances. We don’t always know the folks we fuck, these can be really awkward conversations to have, and depending on the nature of your relationship, financial assistance from a partner might not be something with which you’re comfortable. (Not to mention that our partners can be just as strapped for cash as we are, and it can be hard to determine how much of reproductive health costs should be shared.)

All of that is to say that I understand if you don’t want to bring up prescriptions and co-pays on your next date. There are, however, some pretty huge ramifications to shouldering the cost of contraception alone, so if your partner is in a position to help out, I encourage you to have that conversation. Check out this informal Urtak poll I conducted of readers:

Want to know how you can start a conversation about sharing costs? Four women offer their experiences, perspectives, and strategies on the latest episode of Sex Really.

(via lenachen)


Sex Really With Lena Chen | How Much Do You Spend on Birth Control?

Check out the latest episode, featuring different women discussing their preferred method and how much it costs them each month. You might be surprised at how it adds up!

In the accompanying article on SexReally.com (a project of the National Campaign To Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy), I discuss how cost played a role in my own contraceptive decision-making.

This video is part of the We’ve Got You Covered/Birth Control Matters blog carnival hosted by the National Women’s Law Center & Planned Parenthood.

(Source: lenachen)


Sex Really With Lena Chen | Back Up Your Birth Control! (via SexReally)

Happy Back Up Your Birth Control Day! In this episode, I give the ABC’s on EC and talk about what you need to know about getting a birth control back-up plan. How many of you guys have had to use emergency contraception? And how many of you keep it on hand just in case? If you’re of the mindset that a back-up method is for “other people”, you need to watch this episode, read my Sex Really post debunking EC myths, and find out why contraceptive failure can affect anyone!

Throughout the day, I’ll be tweeting, along with many other lovely folks, under the hashtag #BackItUp. Follow me on Twitter to see emergency contraception myths debunked. Wanna help spread the word? Reblog this post, share the short URL (http://youtu.be/BTsTiIcmBiw) on Twitter and Facebook, and send your friends a funny e-card reminding them to BACK IT UP today.

Need free access to emergency contraception? Start by checking out Planned Parenthood, which offers sliding scale services. Run a Google search for state-funded clinics. (For example, New York City’s Health Department has confidential clinics throughout the city which offer free EC.) And if you ever need help locating affordable, local birth control or emergency contraception, email me a note (lena at lenachen dot com) with your geographic info and I’ll consult my sources! (This is a standing offer.)

For more information about emergency contraception, visit Bedsider.org to find out your options and use the clinic locator. To learn more about the Back Up Your Birth Control National Day of Action, a campaign of the National Institute For Reproductive Health, check out the official website.

(via lenachen)