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Bowles Workshop This Semester!

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!!

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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!

Evolution of Eroticism

Hi y’all! It’s Put It All In Poojan here again with another interesting article/research paper about Eroticism.

http://file.scirp.org/Html/3-6901834_67908.htm

 

Now, if you’re anything like me, knowing the biological aspect of animal behavior is an extremely captivating and important side of understanding that behavior. I hope this research paper finds you well because it runs through some interesting evolutionary theories of erotism and why it proves to be a good thing.

 

Check it out! Also, let us know if you like it!

 

Cheers,

Put It All in Poojan

The Apps

How do folks find, meet, and interact with other potential partners? Queer and trans people have historically faced marginalization and persecution by mainstream society. Today; meeting, dating, befriending, and hooking-up for LGBTQ community members has been made significantly easier thanks to technological innovations that facilitate and foster communication through online applications, websites, and other mediums where folks can easily interact with each other in a safe controlled environment (from the comfort of your own home!) Online dating can be convenient by allowing users to pick from numerous potential partners through a wide range of platforms. However, be aware that online dating can bring out the best and the worst in people which can include dishonesty (catfishing ANYONE?), stalking and harassment, and the lack of physical interaction [until you meet in the flesh]. Some applications that gay/bi/queer men can look into include Grindr, Chappy, Scruff, Growlr, and many more. Other applications that lesbian/bi/queer women can look into include HER, Scissr, Taimi, and many more. Some applications tailor to multiple audiences this includes Match.com, Tinder, and Zoosk where preferences can easily be adjusted to your liking. Additionally, themed applications exist where they cater towards certain populations such as those interested in Kink/BDSM, married individuals, or daddies/bears. These apps can include RECON, FetLife, Scruff, and Ashley Madison. Remember, there is AN APP FOR EVERYONE, a community for everyone!

How To Ask For What You Want

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” ~Nora Roberts

Image result for its not overreacting to ask for what you want and need

Making your wants and needs known can be uncomfortable, whether it be due to the level of vulnerability involved, the possibility of being judged, etc. but you deserve to have your voice heard! Especially if something is really important to you, addressing your desires could facilitate a stronger, more open relationship, as well as possibly having them come true! Being able to speak up on your own behalf can be a challenge to many, but keeping these handy tips in mind will help you become more and more comfortable and, hopefully, get you what you want in bed, in a relationship(s), or in life.

Before we get into all that good stuff, differentiating between asking and demanding is crucial. Demands consist of someone giving you what you want without considering their feelings, and this could be damaging in a relationship. eHarmony simply puts it as if you can accept a “no” and is not upset by “no,” you’re asking. In addition, you are entitled to having your voice heard, but not to get what you asked for. Again, this highlights that asking means being able to handle receiving a “no” and being able to compromise to see what you and your partner(s) are most comfortable doing.

Now that we understand the difference between demanding and asking, let’s tackle the uneasy feelings that come with asking. Asking about specific things, especially about things in the bedroom, can result in lots of apologizing or feelings of guilt, but there’s absolutely no need to feel this way. These are your desires; you don’t need to say sorry for having them! In addition to facing your own feelings, you will also need to take your partner’s or partners’ feelings into consideration. Allow your partner(s) to have space to respond and react, and if you’ve done your research, that will help tremendously. They might have lots of questions and/or comments and being able to answer them confidently will reassure them that you understand exactly what you want and how they can help you achieve it. In addition, it might take them some time and research of their own to fully get what you’re asking for and the components that are part of it. Maybe do research together so everyone is on the same page and it can be really fun discovering new activities to do or learn more about!

Some things to think about before asking are:

  1. How would you respond to your partner(s) if they say “no”
  2. Are there ways to compromise with your partner(s)
  3. How important is doing this activity to you
  4. Could this potentially strain your relationship(s) if they say “no”

If your partner doesn’t want to do X, Y, and Z, it’ll be best to listen to their explanation/concerns/etc. and to reassure them that you appreciate their honesty. If they don’t feel comfortable about doing X, maybe ask if they’re down with doing just Y and Z. Compromise is key! If they’re not okay doing anything you suggested, it’s time to reevaluate how important doing _(insert activity/etc.)_ is to you. Will you be alright with not doing this or will this cause resentment in the future? This could possibly lead to strains in the relationship, and being able to deal with it is important to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Asking can be difficult, but with some practice and communication, it will definitely get easier (and a whoooole lot sexier!) One way to encourage this kind of conversation is to have regular check-ins. This could be about anything: how you’re doing, things you’re interested in doing, events you’d like to go to, etc. Not only does it show that you care, but this also fosters a more comfortable environment to bring up things you or your partner(s) have always wanted to try. I hope these tips and tricks have helped y’all start thinking about taking your pleasure into your own hands and I wish you all the luck in the world! One ticket to PleasureTown, please!

 

With Much Love,

Clitty Crystal ❤

Let’s Get Erotic!

Hi you sexy Golden Bears!

I am your fellow sexpert Put It All In Poojan and today I wanna put it all into eroticism! Why do people replace this term with sensual or sexual? I like to think that it is because of misinterpretation of the words. To understand this phenomenon and encourage the widespread acceptance of eroticism, we need to first off begin by clarifying the difference between nature of being sexual, sensual, and erotic. Let pause for a mome

So let’s talk about sensuality! Sensuality does not necessarily have to be an adjective used to describe sex. A person can be sensual when they are indulging in acts which stimulate their senses – sounds, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting. These can be things like eating an amazing piece of chocolate, that sense of an almost orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a long time, getting your back scratched by someone, etc. You can think of this sensation as something that “feels good to the soul,” which doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual, but certainly can be. The difference between this and eroticism is that, sensuality is more of a emotion, whereas eroticism is more like thinking of an emotionally stimulating sexual instance.

Next we have sexuality! When many of us first hear this term, our minds may go to the various types of sexualities such as asexual, pansexual, queer, etc., which is correct, (and should be talked about more) but in this context, I am referring to sexuality as biological need to have sex. This type of feeling is an procreative urge which is presented by many sexually reproducing social animals. When the animals shift their need for offsprings to begin enjoying the act of sex, that animal is now transitioning into the early states of eroticism.

In other words, as this procreative feeling turns into a sexual desire (libido), this is the emergence of eroticism. For some people, this then turns into state of arousal, which then has the potential to follow into a sexual response cycle which consists of phase one-initial arousal, phase 2-plateau, phase 3-orgasm, and phase 4-resolution (& recovery). When a person gets to these phases, they also need to be correctly prepared for  a safe and sexy time by asking for consent, using safer sex supplies, honest and effective communicative skills. So remember y’all, eroticism calls for your knowledge of the behavior and imagination.

 

DON’T FORGET TO PUT IT ALL INTO KEEPING IT EROTIC!

 

Yours truly,

Put It All In Poojan

 

There is really a kamasutra temple in Madhya Pradesh, India. Enjoy 😉

Ways to Know if You’re Ready for a Sexual Debut

Hi y’all!

Are you ready_

My name is Arousing Andy and this month I’m gonna be talking to you about some different ways to know if you are ready to have your initial sexual debut! Initial sexual debut? You mean virginity? Well, not exactly. Virginity is a social construct that has been made up to generally mean the first time a person has penetrative (usually vaginal) sex. A sexual debut is a much more open term; it just means the first time you do a certain thing with a certain partner in a certain way. This means that you can have your initial sexual debut, the first time you have sex, but you can also have hundreds of other sexual debuts, like the first time with a certain partner or the first time having oral sex or the first time trying missionary.

Now that all that is out of the way, how do you know when you’re ready to have a sexual debut!? Well there are several things you need to consider when you’re considering having a sexual debut:

  1. Why do you want to have this debut? Do you want to have sex for you or are you feeling pressure from your partner(s) or society? Having sex ‘for you’ doesn’t have to be you soul searching and wanting to reach orgasmic pleasure, it can be because you’re curious (you can also want to reach orgamsic pleasure).  Do you know what the other person will expect of you after this? Is this the start of a relationship or friends with benefits?
  2. What are comfortable and willing to do/try? Does your sexual debut mean penis in vagina or are you interesting in just trying oral or digital sex? What positions are you comfortable doing, both emotionally AND physically? You don’t want to get a cramp in the middle of whatever sexy-stuff you’re getting up to!
  3. What activities interest you? What things have you fantasized about? What kinds of sex do you WANT to have? If you want to have your partner go down on you, that should be something you ask for (they don’t have to agree though)!
  4. Are you ready for any possible consequences of sex? Do you have ways to minimize your risks that you’re comfortable doing? This can mean pregnancy, STIs, UTIs, stress, and more. Sex, in whatever way you have it, can be utterly wonderful but there are also many things that can come from it that you might not expect or want. It’s scary to think about, but you can be ready by taking steps to prevent them! You can use barrier methods(condoms and dental dams), pee after sex, get tested with your partner(s) and more! You could also develop feelings for your partner or have them develop feelings that you doing want or expect, are you ready to talk to your partner about that possibility?
  5. Do you have people you can talk to about this? Having any sexual debut, let alone your initial sexual debut can bring up a lot of feelings! There is often a lot of shame that comes with having sex and no matter how sex positive you are, that shame is often deeply internalized and can come up after having sex. Making sure you have people you feel comfortable talking to about sex can go a long way to making sure your sexual debuts are positive, pleasurable experiences.

If you feel good about having your sexual debut after answering all of those questions, you’re probably ready to have your initial sexual debut, but its always, always your decision in the end!  Just remember to have fun, communicate with your partner(s), and stay sexy! If you have any questions you can always come to the Tang Center to talk to our Sexperts!

Arousing Andy

The Tang Center Has STI Testing Options!!!

Hi Everyone!

Image result for tang center std testing

Did you know that the Tang Center, as a comprehensive health care center just for UC Berkeley students, offers many resources for STI testing!! Why is this important? STIs are commonly spread by people who do not know much about it, or do not get tested regularly without using protective methods for sex. Just because no symptoms show up, that does not mean that you do not have an STI. Some people who show no symptoms end up suffering from worse symptoms of that particular STI later in life, so it is important to be tested!

If you are worried that you might have an STI based on certain symptoms that you are experiencing, you can make appointments at the Tang Center website here. But if you do not experience any symptoms, there is another important resource called SELF-DIRECTED STI TESTING! This is a recommended thing to do if you are sexually active, as it is important to catch an STI early before it gets worse, if you do end up getting it. But in an emergency, such as a sexual assault or a broken condom, you can call the urgent advice line at (510) 643-7197 as special testing or treatment may be required depending on the circumstances.

However, the Self-Directed STI Testing is the most convenient and fastest way to get tested. I will guide you through the basic services that Tang offers, with a link to the more specific details below. Keep in mind that this program is meant for screening only, not for treatment. This screening will not cover all STIs, only the main ones: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. Chlamydia and gonorrhea will be done by urine tests or vaginal swabs, and syphilis and HIV will be done by blood tests. After you have submit your request for an STI test and been approved, you can drop by the Tang Center Lab, which is open from 9AM to 4PM on weekdays. You cannot use this program more than once per six months, as per CDC guidelines, unless you request it through your physician.

Once you have gotten your tests, which take about three days, you will receive your results through two mediums; for negative results, you will receive a secure message through the eTang website. For positive results, you will receive a phone call. For more information, here is the website where you can find the link to sign up and create an appointment!

Since this is a very valuable resource, we encourage you to use it! Remember that students with SHIP pay a lot less than those without them.

 

Have a great day and remember to spread this resource!

 

Do it Safe Daniel

Sex Under the Influence: Just Some Things You Should Know

Hi Y’all!

 

Hope everyone is doing well with midterms! Today’s topic will be about sex under the influence, which is a very important topic because it can and has affected many people who are not aware of themselves! Many of you have probably known people who use substances that can intoxicate them, of which the most common is alcohol and marijuana at parties and then proceed to engage in sexual activities (hopefully with consent, of course). Alcohol and marijuana act as stimulants and depressants. What are those? A stimulant is a substance that can increase activity in the central nervous system. A depressant is a substance that reduces functional or nervous activity. Alcohol and marijuana are sometimes considered both a stimulant and a depressant because it causes some people to become more relaxed and at ease within their environment (stimulant effect), but when too much is consumed, it will start to interfere with the central nervous system and that is why certain people pass out or in extreme cases, lose consciousness (depressant effect). I will not go into the details about how these affect the central nervous system, but I will instead talk about how these actions or scenarios can affect a sexual experience.

When one is intoxicated, the person is likely to become oblivious to one’s surroundings as the depressant effect interferes with the function of the central nervous system. At some events, people may become so heavily inebriated that they may lose a sense of place and time and/or lose consciousness, also known as ‘blacking out’. When one is blacked out, especially for people with vaginas, the chances of being taken advantage of becomes much greater. At that point, when someone performs a sexual act with someone who is blacked out or unaware, it is considered rape because the victim is unable to consent when drunk or blacked out. Even when the perpetrator does not remember that event, he/she/they are still liable for the potential damage done to the victim, both physically and/or mentally.

In the case of being sexually violated without their knowledge or consent, it can lead to some potentially life-changing consequences. For example, those who do not use condoms may get another person pregnant, or those with an STI may infect another person because the perpetrator may not be as aware as if they are sober due to the effects of the substances on the person’s ability to be aware and make rational decisions.

So what is the take home message from this? That becoming intoxicated can heavily affect one’s own decisions as well as allow one to become vulnerable to sexual violations. If you do decide to become intoxicated or blacked out, make sure that a trusted friend is with you to look after you, and if not, try to control yourself because that might be a time which may change your life forever.

To end on a positive note, this post is not meant to deter you from absolutely not take these substances; just be sure that you know your limits to avoid unnecessary risks.

 

Take care and hope you have a happy, healthy and sexy week!

 

Do it Safe Daniel

Dating Apps ?!?!

Hey Y’all!

Welcome back to Berkeley! It is going to be an amazing Fall Semester and here at SHEP, we cannot wait to hit the ground running with all our clients old and new. With the start of every new school year, the incoming freshman arrives with new ideas- fresh, ready and hungry for new experiences. One such experience is dating, and in this modern age how you will necessarily meet someone is changing all the time. You could meet and connect with someone over topics such as music taste, favorite types of food, or even by hobbies- and yes, all of these topics are the basis for a dating app available on the market right now.

While often romanticized, meeting people “the old fashion way (or in person) is quickly being outpaced by the number of connections and partnerships no matter the arrangement – that is now made over wi-fi (typically CalVisitor because AirBears sucks!). College is all about trying new things and what better way than to participate, with the rest of your generation, in online dating!  

In doing some research it becomes apparent that there is a dating app for every topic, whether like or dislike, under the sun. There’s a dating app “Sizzl” that matches potentials based on bacon preference, “Bristlr” for people who have beards or would like to connect with someone with a beard, and even “Glutenfreesingles” that matches based on diet preferences. Whatever you want, it’s out there. But since this is an introduction for people to the world of online dating, I will cover the top four online dating sites that millennials use to connect with others.

Starting at the top of the list, it’s no surprise that Tinder is the reigning king of dating apps. Oftentimes the first app that is mentioned (Tinder) offers its users matches based on age, height, gender, location, and of course mutual attraction. Swipe right or left on a potential having seen their photos and description to either accept or deny the match that Tinder has put forth for you. Based on this seemingly superficial approach, Tinder has gotten itself the reputation of being a “hook-up app” but has been used for so long that now a substantial number of couples have been formed because of it. It’s whatever you want it to be!

The next on the list is Bumble. Another swipe right swipe left kind of app, but with the twist of having the female-identified partner only having the option to message first. Some like this approach, as it evens the playing field for women as typically a larger portion of dating app users are male. Known for being much more of a formal dating site, but can still be used for casual encounters if both parties agree!

Thirdly, Ok Cupid takes a place on the list. Launched in 2004, OK Cupid matches personalities after having participants complete long, and specific questionnaires about any topic under the sun. A great choice if you are someone with a set idea of who you want to date and are not looking for any surprises. Also, a great way to learn about yourself through the questionnaires!

Lastly, Coffee Meets Bagel joins the list. Locally grown in the Bay Area and a recent addition to the app store, Coffee Meets Bagel is dedicated to try and find it’s users their “Everything Bagel”. This site is definitely geared towards users who are seeking a long-term relationship or formal dates. Shows you new matches every day at noon, and from only those who have liked your profile and expressed interest!

Online dating can be fun and exciting! It’s definitely worth a shot but also may not be for everyone. While it does take of the stress off of a person to “make the first move” as it is a message instead of a hello in real-life, it’s important to remember that sometimes dating, or anything new for that matter, is going to be possibly scary or awkward at first. So no matter what you choose, be safe, sexy, and confident!

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