Recently I was able to give a presentation to the wonderful folks in Bowles Hall! We talked about Healthy Relationships, Consent, STIs, and Birth Control, all in just under 2 hours. I co-facilitated the workshop with Bowles’ Health Worker, Mary, who had contacted SHEP to have us come teach her community about Sexual Health. The workshop went really well! We had around 20 people filter in and out throughout the presentation, mostly freshmen but people in other grade levels participated as well.
We began the workshop with an overview of who we were and what SHEP was, then we moved quickly into consent musical chairs which got everyone talking and broke the ice a bit. After that we had a discussion on what consent means and how to negotiate what each person wants from an encounter. We next moved on to types of relationships, their similarities and differences, and how people participate in those relationships happily. This was really wonderful because we got to break down some preconceived notions surrounding different types of relationships and get people talking about how to be safer with sex when you don’t know a person’s status.
After that we got into one of my favorite topics, STIs! In this discussion we only covered Bacterial and Viral STIs, because we had limited time and I wanted to make sure everyone knew about the Infections they were most likely to get, and by using safer sex practices they can cut down on the risk of getting all of them! We talked about how STI rates are increasing nationally, in Alameda County, and at Berkeley and discussed why that might be (at least partially because hormonal birth control reduces the risk of pregnancy and people think that means they don’t have to use barrier methods). We talked about how STIs are tested for, how rarely there are symptoms, and what the transmission methods are. After discussing STIs we moved into a discussion of barrier methods and quickly segwayed into my absolute favorite part of the night! Our condom and lube-based activities! We had people demonstrate how to put on a condom properly, showed that oil-based lube degrades condoms, and did the lubey handshake which was without a doubt the most enjoyed activity of the night.
Everyone put on gloves and tried out the different levels of sensation when they had lube on their hand versus not, people also got others to join in and many people got “refills” of lube a couple of times!!
After that we went over birth control and how much each different type could cost and what the positives and negatives were for each. Then we had a question period and finished up! I think it went really amazingly well and I think that was because Mary was so in touch with her community and able to really engage with them. It was a great workshop!