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Hooking Up Healthy Since 1970

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Berkeley

Public Health Day 2018

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Hey there Sexy Golden Bears! This past Friday SHEP had the pleasure of tabling at the Public Health Day Event on Dwinelle Plaza where we promoted the SHEP resources available to students in addition to meeting many of our wonderful fellow Bears.

At the tabling event we were placed on the outskirts of Sproul Plaza where we could attract the eyes of those going to and from class in addition to those passing by Dwinelle. Crystal and I worked the set up shift, so we were able to choose that materials that were brought to the event. On the table, we had various handouts and flyers that advertise our program. Everything from our HIV Clinic to the Healthy Relationship workshops were touched on. A common problem that UC Berkeley has (in addition to all the UC Campuses) is the fact that most students are unaware to the services and resources that are provided to them for free. The main service we pushed through to anyone who visited our table was the Sexpert Education Clinic. The great thing about the Clinic is that it covers a wide variety of topics- practically anything related to sexula health that the Clinent wants to cover can be addressed at these 30-minute appointments. Birth control, barrier methods, signs of unhealthy relationships, and the basics of consent and communication can be personalized and covered in these appoints to better help our clients.

In addition to all our wonderful services that we talked about, we also were able to push SHEP recruitment! This for me was a big deal as this time last Spring I was filling out my very own SHEP application- something that lead me to find my on-campus community which helped me thrive at UC Berkeley.

I had a great time tabling this Public Health Day and hope to do it again next year! We reached out to a lot of people in the UC Berkeley community and every interaction we had was personable. Stay sexy Golden Bears and let’s finish this semester strong!

 

Best,

 

No-Problem Natalie  

Rad, not Rough Community Project

As a new SHEPI (Sexual Health Education Intern) I am lucky enough to start off my time with SHEP with a community project. The community project is an opportunity for SHEPIs to start teaching about all different kinds of topics in sexual health in a community that we feel comfortable in and a part of. I chose to give my sexual health workshops in a community I felt comfortable in and a community I knew would be interested in diving deeper than the surface level sexual health conversations we commonly hear about. This community is called JFEM – a group of undergraduate students that all identify as Jewish, women, and feminists. From my past involvement in JFEM, they had talked about an array of different topics from secular issues of feminism, to Jewish women of the bible, even circumcision. No topic was off limits to these women so I was really excited for us to have a vibrant conversation.

 

For our first workshop I wanted to stick with some of the basics to make sure that we were all on the same page so I went over the general introduction to sexual health which includes an overview of reproductive and pleasure physiology, self-tests like testicular and breast exams, and STI testing including when and why to do so. I also think it’s really important during college to talk about sexual debuts (vs. virginity). I have never been a fan of the word “virginity” and when I understood what a sexual debut was, a lot of things clicked for me, and so I wanted to spread that knowledge and verbage to as many people as possible so that included the definitions of “virginity” and how one decides when they are ready to become sexually active for the first time or with a new partner. We spoke about the general mechanics of sex, the role of hormones in terms of arousal and how to communicate about sex.

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This initial workshop (March 22) I could see the progress from the beginning to the end with the audience. At the beginning when I tried engaging people in conversation I could tell they were a little timid but over time, as I shared my personal experiences, people started to warm up more and we ended up having a really deep conversation about some of our personal experiences. We were also able to tie in a little bit of Jewish wisdom on sex, which was exciting to fuse the two a little.

 

The following week, JFEM was going to go on a tour of the sex store in Berkeley, Good Vibrations, so in preparation for that trip, for my second workshop on April 5th, I decided to talk about sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure included an overview of pleasure physiology including sexual arousal and response, ambiance, toys, other aids and lube to enhance sexual experience.

 

The difference from the first workshop to the second was truly outstanding. People in the group had heard about my first workshop and were interested so even more people came to the second workshop. People were excited to talk about a subject that isn’t really mentioned in sexual education that often and we were able to be very curious and trusting with each other.

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All in all this community project has been a really amazing learning experience for me. I’ve enjoyed stepping up in my community in the role of an educator. There is a lot to be said about the access that we all have in our different communities to sexual health education, whether that be in our childhood or in college. I am grateful to be a part of SHEP and to be able to bring that kind of education to my community.

 

~ Rough n Rad Rachel

APATHers Learn About Sexual Pleasure

 

This was my last workshop with my APATH community which consisted of my peers who had Asian-American backgrounds. I was able to seen significant change in one person who continually showed up to each and every workshop. It gave me immense pleasure (in a non-sexual way) to know that I was able to make a minute change in someone’s life just by educating them about something I am learning and loving.

As I predicted, this one was better than the last two since there was much more audience interaction because we kept asking for volunteers and passing around tangible items. We discussed the 3 erogenous zones a person can have, tips and tricks about digital, anal, and other penetrative sex, how to train your body for multiple orgasms, and different lube products and sex toys. All of which were geared towards enhancing people’s sexual experience.

My peers were extremely ready and excited for this workshop as I made sure to make it sound as amazing as it was. They were excited to learn more about what they could add to make their sexual experience as best as it can be. Since I could sense the interest of this topic in the room, I made sure to conclude by telling them that I will be teaching a Sexual Pleasure 101 DeCal next Fall Semester. Additionally, I also made sure they knew where to find us at the TANG Center, as well as our other DeCal, Sexual Health 101, if they needed more information or tips regarding sexual health.

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Safer Sex Workshop with APATHers

It’s Pull Out Poojan coming at you with another update about my workshop, Safer Sex, with a very knowledgeable Sexpert Reyna. We held this workshop with the APATH community here in Cunningham. This community is composed of students who have diverse backgrounds and identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander. This community is able to provide me with the safe space I need to talk openly about topics regarding sexual health.

For this workshop, I had similar turnout in the number of people like last time (~7-8 people), but the crowd was filled with different people. Some of whom were extremely enthusiastic and responsive to the various safer sex methods and identities Reyna and I exposed them to. When the crowd interacts with the presenters (in a positive way), it makes the presenters job way easier and allows them to also enjoy giving the workshop. That is exactly what happened; they were asking so many good question (that I knew the answer to!) made me feel as though they really cared about the information I was presenting to them.

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In terms of this workshop, Reyna and I went through the various barrier methods, both manufactured and DIY. This time I made sure to incorporate various activities and have other tangible items being passed around for more peer engagement. We had the sexy names, condom challenge before and after instructions how to put on a condom correctly, and the identities match game.  Overall, this one has been the better one, in comparison to the last sexual debuts workshop. I am really looking forward to the next one because not only have I done more publicity for this one, I have also activity reach out to more of the AAPI community in hopes that they can come out to and engage in this informative workshop.

APATHers Sexual Debuts Workshop

It’s Pull Out Poojan here to recap the recent workshop on Sexual Debuts with my APATH community. We have about 20 students in this community with many Asian American backgrounds and/or connections to this community. Both Reyna and I presented the topics, Sexual Debuts and consent, on February 16th in my residential hall’s lounge. I was surprised to see such a large turnout of my peers why showed up! Not only was I excited to them to be there, I could tell they were also enthusiastic about being in that space. Now that I think about it, that could have also been because of Woody and the snacks on the table. Either way, they were really engaged in all parts of the workshop.

In the workshop, we discussed the word “virginity” and how that was problematic. That instead initial sexual experiences should be referred to as “sexual debuts:” because that is more positive and exploratory. I could tell by the faces in the room that this was a new concept; however, they were quite receptive to this new outlook on the many first’s of a sexual experiences. We also covered what constituted consent. This was a challenging conversation and an information heavy topic. There were several questions from my peers, some of which I was not confident in answering. Luckily, I had Reyna there with me, to help me out!

I really enjoyed this experience because I knew both my peers and I were extremely dedicated to this topic and were excited to expand our scope of knowledge in sexual health. I would also like to add that for the next workshop, I am going to incorporate more hands-on activities. I am excited to see what the next turn out will be like!! Till next time, have a safe and sexy week!

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APATHers Meet Pull Out Poojan

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Hey guy! Pull Out Poojan here with a new updates about my community project. This semester as a SHEPI, I’m focusing on working with the APATH community (Asian Pacific American Theme House residents) to assist them in acquiring more information about different areas in sexual health. In this program we have approximately 20 students who come from diverse Asian American backgrounds, many of which are freshman and with a few juniors. I chose this community not only because I identify strongly with this community, but also because I think this community is underrepresented in the sexual health field. Firstly, I want to create a foundation by educating on Sexual Debuts to ensure that everyone has the ability to recognize and create healthy consensual debuts within their lives. Once we are all on the same page, we will be moving on to learn more about Safer Sex! We want to focus on safer sex to make informed decisions about our sexual health’s through the knowledge gained in this workshop. We will end our workshop series with an empowering conversation about Sexual Pleasure. I want to conclude with our series with this topic about pleasure because by then we will have all be on the same page of the language on debuts and consent, along with the facts about safer sex supplies and harm reduction. As pleasure is unique to each person, this last workshop will begin with an educational view of anatomy and erogenous zones but then move on to a sexy facilitated conversation about masturbation and empowerment. With this information in hand, I hope to make sure my fellow friends and community will feel more empowered and ready to navigate their sex lives, more importantly their sexual health. Keep an eye out for more updates on my community project and APATHers look out for specific dates in the group chats and the flyers that will be posted on the floor !

Presenting for QSU

Nip-Slip Nick is back again with another blog about a workshop I cohosted with Reyna and Noel. This time it was a safe sex workshop that was primarily geared towards LGBTQ+ community. At first, I was very nervous about how to approach certain topics, but I would like to say we all agreed it went well. We were able to give a very thorough run though about self-exams, types of contraception, and a discussion on healthy relationships while keeping a non-binary mindset. This time around it was located at tilden room on the 5th floor of MLK. I was expecting more people to turn out, but the ones who did were for the most part quite engaging. It was a great idea to add multiple gifs throughout the presentation because people seemed to appreciate it. At first I was hesitant about the condom race activity, but it turns out everyone was enjoying it. I am super thankful to my cofacilitators for having my back because it was my first time presenting to a Queer minded community so I had to watch my language. Luckily, I made it through without tripping any wires! (I hope). It was both a teaching and a learning experience for me because I know I still have a long way to go before fully feeling confident about presenting by myself. One thing that may have been improved is my energy and where I look because my eyes were constantly shifting to see if I offended somebody so I looked a little too nervous. For future improvement I believe I should definitely be more confident when speaking and to assist that plan what I am going to say ahead of time. I no longer read from the slides because of the time I have spent in SHEP, but I can always improve. I was also surprised how I was able to have two presentations in one day without being too mentally drained. I guess because I treated it more as a casual exchange of information I wasn’t so uptight about it. One thing I definitely forgot was to take a picture of the experience, but no one in our group really remembered. It was also kinda unsettling presenting in that location because the stained glass made it look like a tiny chapel.

Sex 101 Porn

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For this week’s Sex 101 DeCal we covered Sexual Pleasure and Pornography. This topic was one of the most demanded since the beginning of the semester. As a DeCal team, we agreed that it would only make sense to combine the realms of Sexual Pleasure and Pornography as they go hand-in-hand. When we covered Pornography, we went the beyond the traditional standards of pornography and chose to cover sections of Pornography often disregarded or ignored. Our students were shocked when they became aware that we were not only going to focus on visual forms of Pornography. When we asked the class if they can think of forms of pornography that can be consumed by all, various folks mentioned audio porn and feminist porn. For the sake of our class, we like to think of Feminist Pornography as Sex Positive Pornography. We choose to use this type of language as we see that Feminist Porn simply provides a more positive sexual experience for certain communities especially women as the sex workers in the videos have much more agency within spaces. We can examine these values with the example that sex workers that star in Feminist Porn are able to directly price their videos and have flexibility of choose the types of acts they are willing to partake in. With audio porn, lots of students noted how audio stimulation can be just as pleasurable like visual porn. One student pointed out that audio porn requires “more work” but we responded by showing him that “more work” can be outlet to make that experience as unique and creative as the user would like it to be. We showed this video that did a phenomenal job comparing and contrasting [visual] Pornography Sex vs Actual Sex and we received a wide range of reactions. The video does a wonderful job to break down the comparison in a digestible way using everyday Kitchen products including food items. I focused on sex toys and their relationship with sexual pleasure and pornography. Lots of students were unaware of the different types of materials sex toys can be made out of they have mainly heard of or seen the traditional standards of rubber, silicone, and plastic. Students were unaware of the fact that certain lube products should not be used with certain sex toys, but once we explained they came to the same realization

– Get Naked Gasper

ZTA Workshop

On Monday, April 2 Noel and I did a workshop on sexual pleasure at the weekly meeting for the ZTA sorority! It was a very fun workshop and everyone was extremely positive. Sexual pleasure is a topic that can either garner a great amount positivity or a great amount of negativity. I was pretty nervous to see what the reaction of the audience would be. However, after the first minute or so of our presentation I realized I had nothing to worry about. Everyone was eager to learn about sexual pleasure and how to apply it to their own lives. The audience consisted mainly of women identifying people. There were about 60 audience members. So with the large crowd we decided to do the exploding condom activity. This activity teaches people the importance of not using oil based lubricants with latex condoms. Lube can be a great way to enhance sexual pleasure. It improves feeling, reduces friction, and increases warmth. I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite tools for sexual activity.

In addition to lube, Noel and I discussed the importance of communication. Communication may sound cliché but it is another way to improve sexual pleasure. Communicating your own wants and needs and asking a partner(s) about their wants and needs will allow you to engage in activity you truly enjoy. We also talked about masturbation and the myths surrounding it. Masturbation, especially for women identifying people, is heavily stigmatized. Noel and I dispelled the myths surrounding masturbation and assured our audience that masturbation isn’t bad and is more common than they may think. We also discussed sex toys and passed around unused sex toys for the audience to see what they look and feel like. The audience was very receptive to learning about the different sex toys and how to use them. This workshop made me once again see the power a good sex education has. It makes people sexually empowered. I strongly believe that if a person is sexually empowered than they will be empowered in other aspects of their lives.

Sexual pleasure is highly underrated and when it is presented it is shown in an unrealistic way. Movies show that sexual pleasure is literally a woman orgasming right away from penetration alone or a couple engaging in sexual activity without communicating what they are going to do. This is not realistic at all. For many women, penetration alone does not lead to orgasms. Also communication is very very very important in order to establish consent. Movies tend to avoid or look over important details such as these. Some may argue that it is a movie, it isn’t meant to be realistic. I understand this, but when most of the country is not receiving proper sexual health education, movies and porn may be the only source of sex education they may receive.  Thus it is important to educate people from about sexual health, sexuality, and sexual pleasure so that when they watch porn or movies they understand that it may not be realistic. I am very happy that ZTA requested this workshop. Sexual pleasure is a very fun topic and I am glad that they members wanted to learn more.

-Vulvalicious VD

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