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SHEP Talk

Hooking Up Healthy Since 1970

Look Outside the Ballpark: Dismantling the Base System

Baseball is the quintessential American sport with easily recognizable language: bat, ball, pitcher, catcher, bases, home run, etc. It’s hard to ignore baseball metaphors in common language: joining “the big leagues” might mean you’ve received a promotion or a better job, “hit or miss” refers to an opportunity that could be great or bad depending f831ff98-99d2-44e1-9978-b13deb88e798on the context, and “be thrown a curveball” means that something happened that you might not have expected. Around the 1950s, when sex was still mostly a taboo topic, people began to use baseball metaphors as a way to talk about various sex acts. The baseball metaphor explains the sequential steps
in order to score a “home run,” or engage in penetrative sex. Although the exact meaning is intentionally vague, “first base” typically refers to kissing, “second base” is sexual touching above the waistline such as fondling breasts, “third base” is fingering or a handjob, and “home run” is penetrative sex of the penis-in-vagina variety resulting in a male orgasm.

 

There are several things wrong with this baseball metaphor. When the primary goal is to make a “home run,” this re-writes the sexual script into a game to be won. This set-up implies lower bases are not as important even though they can be just a pleasurable and fun for both people! When male orgasm is the primary goal, there could be incentive to take things as fast as possible and without paying attention to the pleasure of everyone involved; notice how there is no mention of the female orgasm and same-sex couples are overlooked entirely. Many sex acts fall outside the baseball metaphor like fisting, toy play, or kink. Additionally, the order doesn’t have to matter! Consent to one act does not mean that everyone consents to any other act.

 

Elimination of the baseball metaphor brings consent to the forefront. You or your partner may want to do sex acts out of the order that the baseball metaphor mandates, not do them at all, or try something outside of its realm. Starting a conversation about your limits and desires can be really useful. Remember, communication is lubrication and there’s no “correct” way to have sex!

-Sensual Susannah

SEXY TIP 12 - jan 1.31.16

SEXY TIP 11 - jan 1.24.16

SEXY TIP 10 - dec 1.17.16

SEXY TIP 9 - dec 1.10.16

#SHEPsexytips #sexytip8

Happy New Year! What better way to welcome 2016 than with January as Self-Love Month? Here is #Sexytip8 for #SHEPsexytips as you all enjoy your winter break.

SEXY TIP 8 - dec 1.3.16

 

SEXY TIP 7 - dec 12.27.15

SEXY TIP 6 - dec 12.22.15

Mariya’s SHAW recap!

SHAW Outreach Experience

“Interested in sexual health?”

“Free condoms?”

“FREE CONDOMS!”

“Want to talk about sex?”

“FREE CONDOOOOOMS!”

“Please take my flyer!”

Sexual Health Awareness Week, or SHAW, is a big thing in SHEP. We promote sexual positivity, safer sex, and healthy conversations and communication about sex! This involves spreading the sexy word, and that involves tabling and flyering.

Oh, flyering.

Not a lot of people come to the table when you just sit there, so we call out to people to come to our table, get free condoms and lube, and learn more about sexual health. We also walk around Sproul and hand out flyers and free condoms to those brave souls who make eye contact and decide to respond positively to free stuff instead of shuffling aside and either pretending we don’t exist, or quickly muttering no and looking away.

It also calls for creativity cleverness in getting people to take flyers – some people will be totally willing to take a flyer, until they hear the words “sex” or “sexual health” or “condoms”, and then they snatch their empty hand back and pretend not to have been coming toward you.

This kind of avoidance and taboo is exactly the thing we strive to counter with SHAW and SHEP. We aim to make sex a normal topic  – after all, it’s just another health topic – and to contribute to our community by spreading safer sex supplies and knowledge!

In the week before SHAW, tabling involved lollipops and arm waving to get people to feel comfortable enough to approach us if they weren’t the type to be enthusiastic about free condoms and sexual health topics. We told everyone we saw about our program and the upcoming SHAW activities that we would have – and, oh, what wonderful activities they were!

Tabling during the actual week of SHAW was certainly interesting and different! Positioned in the center of Sproul and armed with safer sex supplies, a penis costume, our new vulva costume, music, and a consent bean-bag toss game, we spread the knowledge and fun to our fellow students! The bean-bag toss game was certainly a popular game, and we were very excited to have more students looking our way and coming over to get free condoms and lube. Consent and communication were our main messages of the week, and we loved to see everyone participating in our activities! We also had the help of our wonderful DeCal students in handing out condoms and engaging with those who approached our table. Shout out to my section’s student who handled some disgruntled ladies who disapproved of our vulva costume being worn by him! As always, communication and discussion were the order of the day, and we listened to the concerns of those who found it uncomfortable to see a white male in our lovely vulva costume and handing out condoms. Undeterred, we continued to spread the sexy knowledge and addressed their concerns, and went on encouraging sexual positivity to everyone who passed by!

In addition to activities on Sproul, we also made a consent video in the Tang Center! We had students and members of our lovely Berkeley community contribute with their thoughts on what consent means to them (myself included), and it was awesome to see people coming together to talk about consent in passionate, enthusiastic, and safe ways. Let’s tear down the taboo of talking about sexual health!

SHAW was definitely great, and we always want to promote safer spaces for conversations relating to sex and ways to practice safer sex. I even hopped into the penis costume during the week of SHAW and danced around to attract people to our table! I got a few laughs and some people approached our table in higher spirits after that (and some “come hither” gestures), so that was fun! I hope we can all be more sex positive and spread the positivity to everyone around us! I’m looking forward to SHEP’s future outreaches and events, and I hope you do too! :)
–Mariya

RAS with Decaler Nikola!

Sex101 ras photo

For my random act of sexiness I chose to hand out condoms in not one but three different spaces. I started out at the campanile, unfortunately this was also the driest (pun intended) of locations in terms of actual takers. It seemed very few people wanted anything to do with a condom even though they were right next to such an erect structure. I managed to give away maybe five or six condoms before the time was just going by too slow. I also got people who tried to make the situation awkward by nervously laughing and trying to ignore my approach. However, being a complete extrovert I was not phased at all by this. Although, I did decide to switch locations to near the CS lab, as I had class in 20 minutes. Here people payed less attention to what I was doing and were just more shocked they were being handed items somewhere other than Sproul. I managed to give out fifteen condoms in less than fifteen minutes. Some said thank you, some kept walking, and some tried not to laugh. One person even started a conversation with me, his name was Michael and he was just as loud and proud as I was. When I told him about SHAW and handed him a flyer he said, “Oh! I know you! You were the guy in the vagina outfit on Sproul earlier this week.” Indeed I was. The scenario to me was hilarious, and I asked if he would take a picture and he accepted on the condition I go into CS lab and say out loud, “Here is that condom you wanted.” Obviously I took him up on this offer. I just wish the selfie was not as blurry as it turned out. Michael was a pretty cool guy.

After this I went to class. When class finished it was dark so I went home. The next day though, I handed out the last ten or so condoms at a bus stop and managed to grab a picture. Not as eventful as the lab scenario, but still plenty of people laughing that were trapped waiting for the bus and had no choice but to watch/respond or else miss the bus. Overall, the random act of sexiness was very fun for an open, loud, energetic person like myself. Although I do understand why some would feel nervous or awkward doing it, especially when a person either ignores you or gives you a dirty look. Luckily, I do not take myself too seriously and I moved on with getting the act done even when it was a bit more challenging than originally thought. Overall, just a fun time!

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