Hello all! Menage a trois Monica here! This is a little way back but I feel the need to share this experience! As a SHEP Sexpert, it is our job to provide our fellow Cal Bears with nonjudgmental sexual-health related information and one of the ways we do it is by tabling! Since I was out alone, I didn’t really have the opportunity to venture far from our trusty SHEP table, so I just yelled, “FREE SAFER SEX SUPPLIES” to everyone who walked by. All I got were confused looks at first, and the few people who try to swiftly grab a few traditional condoms and run away. Being part of SHEP, a space that totally lives and breathes “sex positivity,” I sometimes forget how the rest of the campus community may view sex, all people have different views and sometimes they may be affected by negativity and false information. It totally was a reminder that as a peer sex educator, I have a lot of work to do!

While my tabling session was coming to a close, a young woman approached the table wondering why I was there. I told her that I was Sexual Health Education Program Intern and I was there to answer any question she may have. As she looked at the table, she noticed all the different colors of traditional condom packages, dental dams, insertive condoms, and lubes. Her face looked perplexed and shocked to see such variety. She asked how can she know what to pick? What is the difference? What was best to use? Why are there so many, because don’t they all do the same thing? As you can imagine, I was overjoyed by these questions and I will take the rest of this blog to give a basic outline on the difference and variety of barrier methods, but will have a whole blog dedicated to each barrier method in order to give more detail and to give clearer answers to the questions posed above!

Why barrier methods? What are they?

  • Barrier methods are protective barriers for sexual experiences and acts; depending on the barrier method, they can protect against unintended pregnancy and/or STIs and HIV.
  • Some examples are: traditional condoms, insertive condoms, dental dams, gloves, and finger cots.

What is a traditional and insertive condom?

  • A traditional condom is also known as a “male condom,” but in SHEP we do not like gendering condoms, because SAFER SEX IS FOR EVERYONE and not everyone uses traditional condoms on a penis, because some people might use them on sex toys and other phallic objects.
  • An insertive condom is also known as a “female condom,” and to repeat we don’t gender any condom, because not only are they intended for vaginal use, but may be safely used anally as well! As far as we know, everyone has an anus!
  • NOTE: Never use an insertive and traditional condom at the same time for there will be too much friction and it can tear, so use one or the other and dispose after you finished with them! **I will provide another blog on how to put them on**

What is a dental dam?

  •  A dental dam is a barrier method used as a protective barrier while performing What are finger cots? How do people use vinyl/latex gloves as barrier methods?

What are finger cots? How do people use vinyl/latex gloves as barrier methods?

  • Finger cots are like condoms for your fingers that you use as protective barriers when fingering the anus or vulva.
  • Latex or vinyl gloves can be used as protective barriers for fingering and/or fisting the vulva or anus.
  • Remember to not use the same finger cot or glove, if you are fingering an anus, and then wish to finger a vulva, or vice versa.

There you have it! A basic outline on barrier methods… but wait! What about lube? Well that also I will dedicate a blog to and will incorporate its use into every individual blog that I will do about each barrier method listed here. Lube will enhance the feeling of each barrier method, and I will show you how! Until then!

Love,

Menage a trois Monica

PS Catch us on Sproul every Friday from 11am-2pm for FREE samples of these safer sex supplies and ask the awesome SHEP sexperts any question you may have! Interested in a workshop? We got you there too! We offer tons of topics that can be molded to the interest of your group, just look at this link here http://uhs.berkeley.edu/students/healthpromotion/shep/shep_outreach.shtml