Hello everyone! Big Queer Event went down Thursday, October 10 at 7 pm in Annahead Hall at the Martinez Commons. As usual, the event was filled with happy members of the Queer Community and allies of all different backgrounds and spaces. I was happy to see many QPOC (Queer People of Color) attend the event!
Anyway, when I entered I was greeted by the event coordinator, and I just took my basket filled with traditional condoms, water and silicone based lube, and dental dams. People would swarm to my basket with tons of questions! Most notable were:
What is the difference between silicone and water based lube?
-In short, silicone lube tends to last longer since the body doesn’t absorb it as it does with water-based lube. Both are safe to use vaginally and anally, but since the anus doesn’t create its own lubrication, silicone is recommended.
What condom can help my boyfriend’s penis from stop chaffing?
-For this I had to use my facilitation skills, of which I asked a question for clarification, “Is he allergic to latex?” and they said “Yes.” So, I gladly handed him a non-latex traditional condom.
What is a dental dam and can everyone use it?
-I opened up an expired dental dam for the purpose of education and showed them that it was a stretchy piece of latex, or non-latex if using the “Hot Dam” brand, that can be used as a barrier method when performing or receiving analingus or cunnilingus. I would then hand them lube of their choice, so they can put it on their partner’s side, and told them they can have anything on their side!
In one hour, I passed my entire traditional condom load, which was around 50, all the lubes, and a few of the dental dams. Everyone was eager to learn what I had, and I left with a happy outreach!
Menage a trois Monica
On October 4th 2013 at 1:00 pm I had my first tabling shift. My partners in crime were “lick me” Lizi and “lovely labia” Leila (my puppy). We were taking over “Jiggling jugs” Jasmines and “In me” Isabels shift so I took over watching the table and Lizi started passing out condoms and lube. I answered any questions people had about sex positivity and also made sure to give safer sex supplies to anyone that stopped by the table.
I then took over giving out supplies. Although being at the table is fun, I really enjoyed passing out traditional condoms and lube more. At first I was a bit hesitant about yelling out “free condoms” but as soon as you say it, you love saying it and start screaming it. The reactions you get are priceless. Some people get really excited and take a bunch of condoms. Some people get frightened, and try to avoid you at all cost and some people even take it thinking its candy and then return it (which did make me kinda sad). Since Leila the puppy was with us, we got a lot of attention and we made sure to take advantage of that by giving condoms to everyone that came to pet Leila. We passed out all the safer sex supplies we could until our one hour shift was over. All in all, it was a great day and I cannot wait until I table next week.
– Kinky Khajee
On Friday April 5th at 12 o’ clock, (I’m not positive about the date and time) Alexander Chang and I grabbed a basket and filled it with over 60 items of traditional condoms, dental dams, lube, and insertive condoms and decided to walk along Sproul and give out safer sex supplies. We wanted to target a large and diverse audience so we decided that Sproul was our best option. Alex and I walked along Sproul handing out safer sex supplies to groups on campus and telling people about SHEP. We focused mainly on Greek tables to tell them about SHEP and about potential workshops that we could provide. When questioned about SHEP, Alex talked about how SHEP was a sex positive group on campus and listed the types of workshops SHEP offers. The day was sunny and everyone seemed cheerful receiving information and/or safer sex supplies. Handing out the supplies went by quickly, and soon we were skipping back to the tang center with an empty basket.
On April 30, 2013, I went to go pick up the condoms from the tang center around 4 p.m. Around 5 p.m. I walked to Sproul hall and I decided to hand out the condoms there. At first I was a little intimidated since I was the only girl handing out condoms for free. But later when the students started getting condoms from me, others started approaching and I was able to feel comfortable enough to even start yelling out “FREE CONDOMS” and even started promoting “Go to Shep located at the tang center and get free condoms there” since there were people who kept telling me that “It was nice of us to be giving out condoms just stay safe”.
I did not have a problem dealing with any creeps, everyone who I handed condoms too were really nice and generous. It was actually a pretty nice experience asking random people if they could take pictures with me showing off the condoms. I found that pretty fun and different to do. Overall, I really did enjoy going through this experience, I never thought that Sex 101 would help me build the enough confidence to freely talk about safe sex, give out condoms, and taking pictures with strangers. Thank you a lot to both Monica and Kim for a great spring semester.
On Friday, April 19, I distributed 30 free condoms outside of the Clark Kerr dining hall as part of my Random Acts of Sexiness. Being stationed outside of my residence hall’s dining commons, I was guaranteed to get a variation of students to pass by me. After all, everyone needs to eat. This proved to be true as many students with differing reactions walked by. I found that the majority of students just ignored me as a I asked them if they would like a free condom. Most students were obviously embarrassed and ducked their head to avoid making eye contact with me. However, some students were more than eager to take one which definitely made my task more fun.
Ultimately, I found my Random Acts of Sexiness to be a really entertaining experience. I was surprised that so many students declined taking a free condom from me. Although I know that not all students choose to participate in sex, I thought more would be excited about the idea of not having to pay for protection. I tried to tell some hesitant students that it was better to be safe than sorry, but I was still turned down, showing that for most, their embarrassment overpowers their logic. Even though this fact made me somewhat sad, the enthusiasm from other students was thrilling and made me proud to be promoting safe sex!
I put off my random act of sexiness for a long time. When I finally decided to do my random act of sexiness I gave condoms to those who desperately need them. I distributed my condoms to the Cal Baseball team. I knew I wanted to give the condoms to my teammates, but I didn’t know where and when would be appropriate to distribute my presents. I decided that the locker room would be the best and easiest place for me to distribute the lifesaving condoms. At first my teammates looked at me like I was crazy, but then they all grabbed a handful. They realized two things. They realized that they needed more condoms and that I was helping them to protect themselves.
I found humor in the fact that most of my teammates first grabbed the “Magnum” condoms in order to look impressive. Showering with my teammates every day I knew which guys needed the big boys and which ones didn’t. Therefore I only allowed for the truly blessed baseball players to take the “Magnums” with them. Some people said thank you while others just grabbed the condoms and left. Overall it was a good experience because I was helping out my team and had a lot of fun doing it. I felt like Santa passing out presents to little kids.
I have learned a lot in the Sex decal and with all the dangers of sex I felt like I was really helping my teammates by providing them with more protections. Also, I know how expensive condoms are and was also excited that I was able to provide them with free condoms. Maybe my friends won’t use the condoms I gave them, but I feel happy knowing they have them and if worse comes to worse they will make some awesome water balloons for the team in the future. I would easily pass out condoms to my teammates again.
Dripping Devin, Sex 101: Topics in Sexual Health DeCaler
When you’re developing the first signs and symptoms of a cold, what do you do? Drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, stock up on throat drops, and visit your friendly Tang physician. Most everyone thinks of the Tang Center as a valuable resource for renewing, improving, and maintaining their health. But what many don’t realize is that beyond treating the flu, UC Berkeley’s Tang Center is the perfect place for many of your sexual health needs!
The Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP), run through the Health Promotion Unit of Tang, can assist students with most concerns, inquiries, and needs. SHEP Interns receive extensive training, making them the perfect people to visit for a Sexual Health Education Appointment (SHE). During this 45-minute meeting, you’re welcome to express all thoughts or questions related to the world of sexual health.
Whether you have SHIP or not, the Tang Center is an amazing place to stock up on all the sexy necessities! The Tang pharmacy offers a wide variety of safer sex supplies, including condoms, lubricant, and dental dams, for extremely cheap. In fact, you can purchase 10 condoms for only $2! So instead of dishing out the big bucks at your local pharmacy, stop by the big blue and orange building on Bancroft!
On top of all that, the Tang Center is your one-stop shop for STI testing. Want to know your status? Make an appointment today to get tested for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and more!
With so many condoms out there it’s hard to know which is best. Do you simply pick the one someone suggests in an article because it works for them? Or do you use whatever is handy? Choosing the condom that’s right for you can be exciting. What works well for your best friend, may not work so well for you. Experimenting with many different condoms can be fun and happens to be the best way to find the condom that is perfect for you. Hopefully this information will help you decide what condom is best for you.I suggest considering three important factors when choosing the condom that’s right for you: purpose, material and size. First and foremost is the purpose of sex. Are you having sex with the intention of getting pregnant or catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? If not, then read on! When used correctly condoms are up to 98% effective (typical use is around 83% effective) with preventing unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.1,2
Traditional or Insertive? Condoms come in two main types: traditional and insertive. Both types of condom prevent pregnancy, STIs and HIV by creating a barrier between your body and someone else’s during sex thus prohibiting the exchange of bodily fluids. Traditional condoms are worn on a penis or penis like object such as a dildo, while insertive condoms are worn by the person being penetrated. You may have heard the latter referred to as a “female” condom, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a condom that can be worn by females, males and folks somewhere in between for vaginal or anal sex. Amazing! I know, right?
Latex or Non-latex? Second factor you’ll want to consider when choosing the perfect condom is material. Both traditional and insertive condoms come in at least 5 materials that I can think of. Most people are only familiar with latex condoms as they tend to be the most widely available. Latex condoms are pretty stretchy and fantastic for allowing heat to transfer. They also effectively prevent unintended pregnancy as well as many bacterial and viral STIs and HIV. Latex condoms are not compatible with oil-based lubricants and some people are sensitive to this material. Only traditional condoms come in latex.
If you are sensitive to latex there are several material options available for you like polyisoprene, polyurethane, nitrile and animal skin. Yes, you read that correctly, some condoms are made of animal skin. “Animal skin” condoms are actually made from the intestinal membranes and not skin. Such condoms are great for folks who want a more natural feel. It is important to remember animal skin condoms only protect against pregnancy. This is because much like human membranes, animal membranes have pores which may allow unwanted microorganisms and viruses to pass through. Animal skin condoms are only available in traditional condoms.
Polyisoprene, polyurethane and nitrile condoms are similar to latex in that they prevent both pregnancy and STIs but do not cause irritation associated with latex making them an awesome alternative for folks with latex sensitivity. Polyisoprene condoms resemble latex with regard to color and stretchiness. These condoms are soft and comfortable. Polyisoprene is derived of natural rubber. Polyisoprene condoms are not compatible with oil-based lubes. Polyurethane condoms are made of plastic and tend to be clear and thin. Condoms made of this material transfer heat extremely well which may increase pleasure for some people. Plastic is not as flexible as latex therefore polyurethane condoms are a bit less stretchy yet pleasurable nonetheless. Polyurethane condoms can be paired with any type of lubricant. Traditional and insertive condoms offer a polyurethane option. These condoms are currently available as an insertive option only. Nitrile condoms are softer than polyurethane and significantly decreases sounds associated with polyurethane insertive condoms.
Small, Medium, or Large? When choosing which condom is best for you, size is a factor worth considering too. A condom that is too loose may not avoid the exchange of bodily fluid. Condoms that are too tight may break due to friction or roll up a phallus until it comes off inside your partner’s body. If fishing condoms out of bodies is not your thing, then having an appropriately sized condom is necessary. Traditional condom sizes vary by brand. Most regular condoms fit the average male penis when erect, which is about 5-7 inches in length and 4-5 inches in circumference. A smaller than average penis may be well accommodated with a “snugger” fit condom. While it may be best to use a larger condom such as a Trojan Magnum, Kimono Maxx or LifeStyle XL for toys and penis’ that are larger than average. For specific information on condom sizes by brand, visit http://www.condom-sizes.org/condom-size-chart/condom-size-chart. It is important to try several brands and sizes to determine which fit is best for you or your partner. Condoms should fit comfortably around the penis head, and shaft, down to the base. Tang Center Urgent Care Supervisor and Nurse Practitioner, Lee Fagan, suggests people find a “brand that fits good and stick with it.”
After considering the basics you can think about flavors, colors and textures! Flavored condoms can make oral sex on a penis (fellatio) tastier. Traditional condoms come in a wide variety of flavors such as vanilla, strawberry mint and more. If you decide to use these tasty treats, remember they are for mouth to penis sex only. Flavored condoms may lead to vaginal or anal irritation and possible infection. Traditional condoms come in several different colors with or without flavors. You can even get a condom that glows in the dark! Play around with various fun textures like smooth, studded, ribbed, and more! Textured condoms are designed to increase pleasurable sensations for the partner being penetrated.
Now that you have the 4-1-1 on what to consider when looking for the best condom, talk to your partner(s) about which you’ll try next. If you’re on campus the fabulous folks of Health Promotion – located on the 2nd floor in the Tang Center – have a variety of condom samples available free of charge. Know what you like and want more? Come to the Tang Center Pharmacy before your next sexperience and stock up on name brand condoms at an inexpensive price. You never want to be in the situation where you’re hot, horny and ready to have steamy sex only to realize that you nor your partner brought condoms. Don’t rely on your partner for your protection. Be prepared at all times. Carry your favorite condoms with you in a safe, dry place free from exposure to heat. Plastic, vinyl or tin condom carriers are great for this. Happy informed condom hunting!
Robin Mills, MA
SHEP Staff Coordinator