My community that I am chose to focus my semester-long project on was my sorority, Alpha Phi. While there are 140 female members, I had around 20-30 people from my pledge class attend my workshops. I chose this community because I have been a member since September 2014 and have learned a lot about Greek life at Berkeley. Many people do not practice safe sex and I felt compelled to reach out to members of my community to educate them on sexual health topics.
The workshops I presented were “Intro to sexual health”, “healthy relationships”, and “sexual pleasure” and I spread them out in 2 workshops. The first workshop I held on Sunday April 24th with Sergio detailed sexual health, with topics including: overview of the reproductive system and pleasure physiology, testicular exams (since it was an all-female audience), and STI tests as well as other tests, including when and why to do them. The other topic I presented for the first workshop was healthy relationships, where I discussed different types of relationships (monogamous and non-monogamous), characteristics of healthy vs unhealthy relationships, communication, how to improve relationships, and how to deal with conflict. For my second workshop on Tuesday April 26th with Mariya, I talked about sexual pleasure, including a brief overview of pleasure physiology, sexual arousal and response, primary and secondary erogenous zones, ambiance, sex toys, and lube.
While I was excited to give my talks, I was nervous that the topics were going to be too similar to topics presented by Panhellenic (my sorority, as well as all other Greek houses, are required to attend a presentation on sexual health), and the attendees wouldn’t be interested. However, I was so happily surprised to find that the members of my community loved my workshops! I think they thought that it was going to be a normal sex talk at first, but the members of my community went wild for the “Sexy Names” –they came up with some really creative and sexy names—and for the exploding condom activity. Additionally, I brought in the sex toy kits from the Tang Center SHEP and everyone was both shocked and excited to see the myriad of vibrators, anal beads and plugs, cock rings, masturbation sleeves, and more.
Providing the workshops to my community felt right. I felt as if I was educating them on topics that both reinforced their knowledge of certain topics, like breast health and STIs, and also allowed them to learn about topics they might not have been educated on previously. I had no idea that certain topics were so new to some of my community members. It just goes to show that sexual health education is so important! At the end of my workshops, I had many people approach me and thank me for leading engaging, interesting lectures. I was excited to have finished my 2-hour long series, but there was definitely an interest in bringing SHEP leaders back the Alpha Phi for continuous sexual health education.
My community expressed interest in having more SHEP workshops and I promised them that we could provide more workshops in the future. However, I also directed them to other resources for more information. In all of my presentations, I included a slide and talked about these resources, including resources from SHEP and Tang. The resources from SHEP include the Sexpert Education Clinic (1 on 1 appointments and the HIV clinic), outreach (like tabling on Sproul), the DeCal (led by Mariya, my co-facilitator!), special events, and this blog! The resources from Tang include STI tests, health coaches, transgender services, safer sex supplies, the “Do You” campaign, PartySafe@Cal, and Be Well to Do Well.