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SHEP Talk

Hooking Up Healthy Since 1970

Sexual Health Awareness Week with Mariya

For Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW), I helped table on Sproul on Wednesday’s Asexuality Awareness themed day!

I had a lot of fun tabling with other sexperts and some decal students. Some students tried on the vulva and penis costumes, and it was quite the experience for one of them to embrace wearing the penis costume.🙂

We also handed out lots of lube, flavored lube (mint, vanilla, and chocolate), and dental dams. Our dental dams got a lot of attention! Many of the people who stopped by our table had seen me waving around a purple grape-flavored dental dam and didn’t know what it was – it was great getting to tell more people about dental dams, since a lot of people don’t know they even exist.

Dental dams are an awesome barrier method for oral sex on a vulva or anus. Many people don’t think about barrier methods of protection for oral, and if they do, it’s usually a flavored traditional condom for penises. Other forms of oral sex can still lead to STIs though! If you don’t have any on hand, it’s super easy to make one out of either an exam glove (latex or nitrile – just make sure there aren’t any allergies to the materials) or a traditional condom.

For a glove, just slice off the fingers and cut up the side (cutting the thumb off is optional, as it can be a convenient sleeve for the tongue) – you should end up with a square-ish piece of the glove. For a traditional condom, slice both ends off (the closed tip and the ring) and cut up the side. Voila! That’s it!

You can also use clear cling/saran wrap if you have nothing else on hand. Just make sure it’s not the microwavable kind – those have pores that would still allow STIs and bacteria to pass through! It’s also easier to make bigger pieces for dental dams with cling wrap, or you can even try your hand at some mummification play (perfect for Halloween!).

Make sure to write a non-reversible letter on the side you’re using so you don’t accidentally switch sides (for instance, if you lose positioning or drop it). If you end up using the side for your partner, then the point is moot. Stay protected!

To increase pleasure/sensation with dental dams, just apply some lube on the side of the receiver. It’ll transfer heat better and decrease the amount of friction!

As always, come see us in the Tang Health Promotions Office on the second floor on Fridays 12-3pm if you have questions! You can also message us on Facebook or email us at calsexperts@gmail.com.

Stay safe and sexy everyone!

The obsession with sex without actually talking about sex

Our society’s obsession with sex, but not sexual health, is clearly seen in the hypersexual advertisements and mass social media. Sex is portrayed in various means from TV commercials, billboards, magazines and newspaper. So, why is it that the sex is used to sell everything from a hamburger to a car, yet there is no space for a dialogue on sexual health? Why is it that as a society we are obsessed with sex yet cannot communicate with our family, friends, partner, or even ourselves about sex?

As a society, we have created taboo around sex and thus made it increasingly difficult to have open discussions about sex. This can be observed in schools, families, and on a individual level. There are many factors to why we are so uncomfortable to talk about sex, one of those reasons are a lack of knowledge. The controversy regarding sex creates an unsafe environment where young adults are deprived of learning accurate medical facts concerning sex, safe sex practices, and lack accessible affordable resources. Many schools nationwide lack adequate sexual health education, and majority of schools do not provide any sexual health education or only provide abstinence-centered education. Sex-Ed classes that only focus on abstinence reinforce the idea that “sex is bad” thus creating a taboo atmosphere around sex which results in a lot secrecy and shame around the subject of sex, even within the partners practicing sex. This taboo culture also results in adolescents’ reluctances to go for help until it is too late in cases of unwanted pregnancy, STDS, or an unhealthy relationship. The lack of adequate or no sex education also disregards the need to educate about consent, and further creates an unsafe environment for young adults to make informed, healthy decisions. It is imperative that consent is a vital segment of teaching sexual health, and that there is a clear understanding of consent among young adults so they are informed on how to ask for consent, how to give consent and how vital both these steps are. The lack of open communication about sex also prevents the access of resources like STD tests, birth control, counseling, and much more that is imperative to sexual health. The access to reproductive and sexual health is essential in the grand scheme of health and needs to be addressed. Sex is not only a token used to benefit the advertising industries but needs to be a topic that’s accurately taught in our schools, homes, and openly discussed.

There needs to be a transition from the obsession of sex to actually talking about sex in a positive, healthy manner.

So Many Questions

 

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Today, I gave out free condoms on Sproul to anyone on the UC Berkeley campus (that wasn’t a minor). I went into this assignment with excitement. I am a very social individual and I love meeting new people and putting a smile on someone’s face—this assignment was perfect! To my surprise, I found myself feeling a bit awkward standing on Sproul giving out condoms. Although I did this alongside an awesome classmate, I still felt a bit out of place.

            Honestly, I felt like a hypocrite handing out condoms while I myself don’t use them. I think this has something to say about how much this assignment meant for me. It allowed me to ask myself why I felt the way I did while doing the assignment and think deeper about it. I am very open when it comes to my sexuality and I find it easy to discuss the topic of sex, yet I felt awkwardness at the beginning of doing the task…why? I eventually handed out most of the condoms but I also want to think about why so many people rejected taking FREE condoms. So many questions that I have yet to answer.

Bring Out the Sex Positivity

My name is Teresa Yu and I’m part of the Sex 101 Decal in the Wednesday section. I passed out 30 condoms on September 27th for half an hour on Sproul Plaza. Initially, the idea of passing out 30 condoms seemed fun and quirky and I was super excited to do the assignment. However, I didn’t anticipate being nervous until actually showing up at Sproul. There were less people than I expected at around noon on a weekday so the emptiness of the location already started to make me feel nervous. It’s a good thing that I ended up partnering up with Nelly and we both felt the same way. We both had our individual bags of condoms and slowly inched toward the middle of Sproul Plaza as we got more comfortable.

People were not as receptive to having condoms offered to them as I expected. I expected more people to be excited that there were free condoms available. There were a lot of puzzled faces and concerned looks. One girl actually came up to us and asked for one, which was surprisingly nice. There were a number of people who gladly accepted and said, “Hell yeah, free condoms!” but there were many more “Ehh, no thanks”. Maybe people were too busy with midterms or the hot weather was making people less welcoming. We eventually got more comfortable with offering condoms and managed to get rid of the entire bag. The whole ordeal was super fun and got me out of my comfort zone. It’s also nice knowing that I was spreading sex positivity on campus.

Rubbers on Sproul

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When you get a pack of condoms in a zip lock bag—you just have a mild panic attack. Not really, but really. I say this because I have never freely walked around with a bag of condoms, at most, I have had a solid three pack of Trojans stuffed into the back of my night stand. Even with those stowed away, I felt a lingering amount of constant anxiety in wondering how I would appear to be if someone found those in my drawer full of colored pencils and random panty liners. Nonetheless, now as this assignment was distributed, I took this time to reclaim my sexiness and develop a master plan of attack. It became a little side job for me, “hey want some of these goods”, as I flashed a Rough Rider to everyone I walked passed.

To say the least, as daunting as I first thought this assignment to be, it was not at all. The night I got my stash of rubbers, as I call them, I took so social media, Snap Chat to be exact, announcing that I had condoms and I would be passing them out on a first come first serve basis. Apparently I have one hell of a following, that the next day on campus—everyone bombarded me with the “Where ya at” texts. It was great. I walked through the Student Learning Center, the sides of Cesar Chavez, and finally I handed out my last couple of protective gears at my own student meeting. Half of my inventory was granted to those who found me themselves, and the other half was distributed to students I found throughout campus. When I first pulled out the plastic bag full of condoms, I felt as if I was insulting folks who were by standers—I felt as if I was causing them to feel uncomfortable in a safe space. But then it hit me, safe spaces, from my point of view, also cater to their inhabitants and making sure one practices safely happened to be one of my goals! However, I also encountered some people who were totally against receiving a condom, and I immediately made sure I understood the other person’s no, and did not keep persisting for them to take one. What I did notice was that I had much more luck handing out these condoms to females than males. I only had one male identifying student take a condom. Majority of the males I spoke to were hesitant and questioned me on why I even had a bag full of condoms. Hmm.

In a matter of one day on campus, I distributed 29 condoms, and ended up having one Magnum left for myself. The last Magnum was actually one I wanted to keep, until I partially scared myself thinking about how most guys do not really need the Magnum size anyway, and I do not want any slippage, so I gave it away as well!

The results from my RAS assignment were amazing, and it even gave me the external confidence to go up to someone and pass them a condom in public. (:

P.S. I also asked people how many condoms would they prefer just because I personally felt one would not have lasted a couple of rounds, and I wanted to prepare everyone for the weekend (or future since they expire in 2021).

Giving it to the Greeks

For my random act of sexiness I went to the fraternity house Delta Upsilon during a social event called “Big Sisters” on Tuesday September 20. I was able to hand out all 30 condoms to the brothers of Delta Upsilon and a small handful of girls in the following sororities: Tri Delta, Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Gamma, Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, and Alpha Omicron Pi.  I was not surprised that boys were more willing to take the condoms than the girls at the event. When I would first ask if they wanted a condom I would normally get a weird looks and hesitation to answer.  I would then have to explain that I was apart of the Sex 101 decal supporting safe sex. After my explanation as to why I was handing out condoms they were more willing to take them. One of the boys I offered a condom to asked if he could have another and what different types I had, while I had multiple girls turn down my offer. I noticed that girls were more likely to turn down the condom if they were with a girl friend rather than a guy. Over all it was a good experience and I enjoyed it more than I expected!

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Erotic Fan Fiction

fanfictionWe’ve all seen adult books, whether it be in the back room of your local bookstore or on the best seller table in large chain stores, but what many people don’t know is that you can get erotic, well-written fiction for free on the internet! What I’m talking about is: fan fiction. If you have a favorite TV show, movie, or book, there is a good chance that someone somewhere on the internet has written about the main and side characters getting it on.
Porn works well for many people, but if you’re like me, you need more than the visual to get your engines going. There are many great parts of fan fiction: it’s free, it’s private, it’s virtually endless, it is made by people just like you, there are no professional fan fiction writers, and there is always a back story behind the action. There are seasons and series and books full of (mostly) well-crafted relationships and very little pizza man bringing a pizza with sausage. It is possible that the fan fiction you’re reading may well have one of the characters be a saucy pizza man, but you’ll know that character’s back story.
Another great thing about reading erotic fan fiction is that it is a safe way to explore your sexuality without having anyone be actually harmed in the process. There are a million kinks and a million ways those kinks can play out, and with fan fiction, you have a safe and judgement-free way of exploring them all. If you’re worried about supporting the porn industry, you need to look no further than a couple of thousand word foray into breath play, BDSM, praise kinks, and more.
It is important to remember that fan fiction, and erotic writing more generally, is not always accurate to real life. Characters will use ridiculous things as lube; in my experiences I’ve seen: baby oil, jam, spit, vaseline, nothing, and a fruit popsicle. I want to make it very clear that all of these things are not to be used for lubrication for vaginal or anal penetration. Just like porn, things are idealized. Virgins are comfortably able to accommodate huge toys or penises with very little preparation, and positions only gymnasts can achieve are described as if they were easy. People often jump into BDSM relationships without through discussions of safe words, limits (both hard and soft), or many other integral aspects of dominant and submissive relationships.
There are many places to get fan fiction, including sites like Archive of Our Own(archiveofourown.org) and fanfiction.net. If there are no series that catch your interest, romance sections of bookstores often have soft core porn sections. Romance novels tend to be either very white (or include uncomfortable racial stereotypes) and very straight, so this might not be the best format for many people. Fan fiction tends to have more diversity in genders, ethnicities, relationship types, sexuality, and levels of ability, so if you are queer, have disabilities, aren’t white or aren’t monogamous, I recommend finding some fan fiction to enjoy. I don’t pretend to have read all fan fiction or all romance novels, so there are probably terrible fan fictions and amazing and inclusive erotic novels out there. I hope this inspires you to explore both the internet and yourself!
– Arousing Andy

Just Your Friendly Neighborhood Genitalia

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“Not all heroes wear capes”…some of them wear fleshy penis costumes and hand out condoms during peak school hours. Dressing as the SHEP penis during outreach events has made me realized that that is my true form; I feel like a superhero with the power to spread sexual positivity and sexual health education. I think one of the most important things to take away from any SHEP event (besides free condoms and lube) is learning how break down the taboo that surrounds the conversation of sex. Communication is not only the best lubrication at an individual level, but also at a societal level. Being able to freely discuss issues relating to sexual and reproductive health at a larger scale is essential in breaking down the harmful barriers society has constructed. As sexuality and sexual health impacts everybody in some way, an international discourse on topics such as STD/STI prevention and care, healthy relationships, safer sex, contraception and abortion, gender and sexuality, and comprehensive sexual education is imperative in ensuring a healthier state of well-being. If such issues are talked about at a community level, free of intolerance and stereotypes, then I think this openness concerning sexual and reproductive health and positivity will transcend to a state, national, and hopefully international level. As Sexperts and SHEPies, we hope you leave the SHEP table not only with a condom, dental damn, and/or an educational leaflet, but also the urge to openly and positively talk about the realm of sexual health with your friends, classmates, and family. Too often when I talk openly about sex in the dining hall, walking to campus, or in MLK, I get strange looks because I am talking openly about sexual health issues, my own sex life, or am just perusing through an article talking about the G-spot. People are surprised, even shocked (or mortified), about my willingness to talk about sex in public, and while I do like being unapologetic about sexual empowerment, I wish this wasn’t seen as unthinkable to do in the public sphere. If people want to hand each other condoms in a way so as to promote sexual health during a study break, power to them!

That being said, if you’re interested in how to reach as many people on Sproul in spreading sexual health education tips and giving out condoms through SHEP, here are my secrets:

-Dress as genitalia

-Don’t be afraid to yell/chant/sing while dressed as said genitalia. Some of my favorites are “Safe sex is the best sex!” “Wrap it before you tap it!” and of course “Free condoms”

-If you catch people sneakily videoing/Snapping you, I suggest saying “If you’re going to videotape me you have to take a condom.” While I appreciate the free press, I also appreciate people partaking in safe sex.

-Don’t offer condoms to minors. Do offer them to older people. I once got to hear an 70 year old’s offer her masturbation advice. Life. Changed.

-Get used to being famous and feeling like a Disney™ character.

-Be shameless. Be fierce. Be excited. Be proud.

Taking Over the Res Hall

I handed out the condoms in my residential campus at Clark Kerr. I handed them out on Friday September 23rd from 6-8pm. I was able to hand out all of my condoms, because at times, people did want more than one but I limited it to about 3 per person. I was able to explain that I was a part of the Student Health Educationimage Program and needed to convey the message of safer sex to about 30 people. I was able to engage in a conversation about the need to practice safer sex not just for birth control options, but for preventing diseases. I was met by a girl who refused to take the condoms because she was “already on the birth control pill.” I replied by saying that the pill does not protect against STI’s and she changed her mind about accepting them. I found that more people than expected refused to accept the condoms. But in general, those who did accept condoms were very enthusiastic and willing to listen to the cause.

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