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Oct 4

Sexual Health Awareness Week at UC Berkeley

Posted on Saturday, October 4, 2014 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoSexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) events went well! The Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) SEXPERTS and their DeCal students at UC Berkeley saturated the campus with safer sex supplies distributing approximately 5000 traditional and insertive condoms to fellow bears during SHAW main event and through random acts of sexiness all week. However, the highlight of the week had to be the various sex educator panels including peer educators, campus and local community educators, and professional Sexologists and educators.

student panelSHAW began with an awesome and intriguing panel of sexual health peer educators. Many of the students on the panel are in SHEP with one FemSex facilitator. Though the panel was for the students, and at the end of a long day, I was overwhelmed with pride in a job well done as many of the students in SHEP expressed that being in the program has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences they’ve had at UC Berkeley. Many of the panelists shared that in their quest to educate others on sexual health and related topics they learned a lot about themselves as well.  The only male student on the panel cheerfully admitted that being accepted into SHEP was more exciting than receiving his acceptance to UC Berkeley. All of this was music to my ears as the Program Coordinator and Sexual Health Educator because I know that each of these young people will continue to educate friends, classmates and many more helping to slowly but surely effect change to create a more sex positive campus climate and culture, here and beyond.

The following evening, we held a sex and disability panel featuring the group Are Cripples Screwed? consisted of UC Berkeley students, alum, and community members lead by SEXPERT Olivia.  This self-contained panel is always both educational and entertaining. There are often many negative stereotypes of disabled persons and sex, as if disabled people don’t have sexual feelings, desires, and experiences. One of the best things about this panel is that the panelists openly and honestly discuss sex and disability in such a way that definitely clarifies that yes, disabled person’s can and do have sexual feelings and desires. Furthermore, disabled persons often figure out a way to experience sexual pleasure as well.

Professional sex educator panelOn Wednesday evening we held a panel of professional sexual health educators and Sexologists for aspiring sex educators.  Like the peer based sex educator panel, clear themes quickly emerged. The first was many of us identified as that “weird” child/young adult who was naturally intrigued with sex and advancing the discourse in an inclusive and accurate way. A second shared theme was having an entrepreneurial spirit as the field of comprehensive sex education is somewhat new. Given that sex, sexuality, and sexual health encompass many areas of our lives and health, it makes perfect sense to study and approach sex from a multi or interdisciplinary perspective. However, the interdisciplinary approach is new for many employers and they are just barely beginning to see and understand its benefits. Professional sex educator panelistsBecause of this sometimes we, as sex educators, have to help potential employers see our worth and you may have to be creative with this. To this end, one of the best pieces of advice was in response to a student question about interest in other areas and not knowing what to do or where to start with a career in sexual health education. I’m not sure who, but I think it was Carol who shared there is no reason to give up your other interests as it is entirely possible to combine them and be the best sexual health person in that particular area. In other words find the thing you are most passionate about – your niche, if you will – and be the sex expert in it. For example, if you have an interest in both chemistry and sex, major in chemistry minor in sex or vice versa, then carve a niche for yourself as a the leading authority in the chemistry of sex.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recount of SHAW panels. A super duper huge thank you to the Student Sexual Health Educator panelists: Olivia, Jessica, Angela, Daysha, Jasmine, and Mike; Are Cripples Screwed? panelists; as well as professional Sexual Health Educators: Nicole from Huckleberry in Marin County, Alicia Harris from UC Berkeley, University Health Services, and Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen – one of the most well-known professionals in the field of sex education here in the Bay Area. While SHAW was fantastic, sexual health and education is such an important aspect of health that it certainly deserves daily awareness and regular maintenance. As such, I’ll be writing about it all month! Until next time…

 

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Sep 29

Birds Do It. Bees Do It. Bears Do It.

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014 in UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoToday kicks off Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) at UC Berkeley! SHAW is a super sexy and sex positive event held each fall semester that uses fun, games, and humor to promote awareness of sex, sexuality, and sexual health issues and concerns.

SHAW’s theme this year is Birds Do It. Bees Do It. Bears Do It.  As many of my readers know, I have been working super hard with a group of sex positive librarians to put on a sex ed exhibition, Birds Do It. Bees Do It: A century of sex (mis) education in the USA. I thought I’d be clever and plan SHAW to happen simultaneously with the official exhibition opening reception on Wednesday, October 1st. It doesn’t hurt that I’m one of the featured speakers at the reception. I’m just saying…

Shep_BirdsBeesBears_Final (1)This year’s event will not disappoint. Wednesday, October 1st, 11:30 – 4:30pm, is our main event on Memorial Glade! There will be several tables with sexual health information, educational games with sexy prizes, and opportunities for you to share what you would like to see as far as sexual health education on the UC Berkeley campus. The infamous SHEP penis will be out in full erect – I mean effect – ready to pose for pics with you and your friends. Free safer sex supply samples will be available.   Community partners such as the Center for Sex and Culture, Good Vibrations, and STD Triage will be there. Check out what else we’ve scheduled for you:

9/29 – 10/3 Daily: Random Acts of Sexiness. Our lovely Sex 101: Topics in Sexual Health as well as our Sex and Disability decal students will be all over campus offering fellow bears condoms…Roll on you bears! For times and exact locations check fb.com/SHEPSexperts.

9/29 Monday: Student Sexual Health Educator Panel. Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) Sexperts will be sharing a little about why they do what they do and answer questions from those of you considering doing it too. Pun so intended. Cum join us in 83 Dwinelle from 6:30-7:30.

9/30 Tuesday: Student Sex and Disability Panel – Are Cripples Screwed? If you want to know the answer and learn more about sex and disability you’ll have to come to the panel! This sexy panel is going down at the Tang Center in the Class of ’42. We’re not too far for sexy people to come!

Sexhibition10/1 Wednesday: Professional Sexual Health Educator Panel. Panelists include Carol Queen from the Center for Sex and Culture & Good Vibrations; Nicole G. from Huckleberry; and Tang Center Health Educators, Alicia Harris for sexual assault prevention and me, the Sex Goddess, representing college sexual health and Black sexual health! This is a great event and opportunity for any bears who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of sexual health education and/or who would simply like to chat with leaders in the field and learn more about sex, sexuality, and sexual health from various professional perspectives. This sexy panel will be 6:30 – 7:30 in 102 Latimer.

Before this sexy panel begins, don’t forget to stop by the opening reception of Birds Do It, Bees Do It… to hear about the evolution of sexual health (mis)education from History Professor, Thomas Laqueur, Dr. Malcom Potts, and me your campus Sexologist and Sex Goddess. The reception will be held in the Morrison Library in Doe Library, Wednesday, October 1st , 4:30-6pm. Light refreshments, sexy talk, and sexhibition!?! It gets no better! Certainly hope to see you there! Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

 

Sep 20

Yes! Affirmative Consent

Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2014 in Guest blogger, Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Growing up in a religious Catholic family, there weren’t a lot of conversations about consent and sexual activity. In fact, the only conversation about sex at all was a one-note repeat: DON’T. When I hit puberty, my mom stuck a sticker on the bathroom mirror: “8 Ways to Say No to Sex”. The list included such gems as “just walk away” (whaaa?) and “change the subject”; actions that would guarantee no second date, since your companion would clearly think you were nuts. (I spent a lot of time in high school hoping none of my visiting friends would need to use our bathroom.)

The message was clear at my Catholic school as well: nice girls don’t. There was no space for good, sexy feelings; no acknowledgement of your agency to explore your own body; and always the sense that it was up to the girls in the room to, as we were once memorably told, “keep our knees together.” All conversations about consent between us and The Boys were to end one way: with a firm NO. (In this universe, of course, same-sex sex wasn’t even acknowledged.)

One-enthusiastic-yes sg blogThis brings me, in a roundabout way, to the whole idea of enthusiastic consent, and why I wish it had been there in that impoverished, crappy little Catholic school when I was learning about the wide world of adult sexual life. Enthusiastic consent is the concept that you do not move ahead with initiating sexual activity while waiting for a potential sexual partner to say “no” — rather, you pause, seek an enthusiastic “yes!” and respect that anything less means the activity in question is off the table.

Would this idea have actually made a difference to me, growing up in my little hometown? My friend, it would have made ALL the difference. It starts with the revolutionary thought that sexual activity is something to actually be ENJOYED, rather than endured (question to the nuns: if you keep telling girls that sex is something they endure, how can they even tell if they are consenting or not?). Enthusiastic consent includes the notion that sex is something created in the moment between happily consenting adults. It’s not an atomic bomb dropped onto your ever-vulnerable female “reputation”, nor is it a dreaded but necessary task for producing the next generation of miserable, guilt-riddled adults. It’s something you create right then, between you. Which is another reason it would have rocked my teenage world: the idea that sex isn’t something that girls give, and boys take, but rather an activity between equals, brought into being at that moment by each of your desires, needs, likes and dislikes. It’s not a one-time exchange of goods: you don’t hand sex over to the other person. You make it together.

My dear, I am here to tell you that this idea has magic in it. It has the potential to revolutionize how many, many people look at sex, and look at potential sexual partners. The world needs this. Won’t you do your part to bring sex out of the shadows and into the sunshine? I hope for your enthusiastic “Yes!”

Sarah Gamble

Aug 20

Go Back to School in the Know

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 in UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoGo back to school in the know – meaning get tested and know your sexually transmitted infection (STI) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status! You would be in good company with more than 4000 students getting screened for sexually transmitted infections including HIV during last academic year at UC Berkeley’s University Health Services, Tang Center. Knowing your STI/HIV status is important if you plan to be sexual with others or are hoping to have children one day. The latter is important as some infections such as Chlamydia often does not have visible symptoms in women. If left untreated Chlamydia can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and possible infertility.

If you are having or have had sexual experiences the only way to know for sure that you are STI and HIV free is to get tested regularly. Sexually transmitted infection testing options involve collecting specimens in a variety of ways including a blood draw, urine sample, genital swab, or finger prick for HIV. I’ll tell you a bit more about each of these. Depending on what you are being tested for you may need more than one type of test.

Blood Draw. This type of testing involves drawing blood (hence the name) using a needle and syringe. Blood draws are useful for diagnosing viral infections such as HIV and/or for determining various strains of some viral infections such as Herpes Simplex Virus. As with any breaking of the skin, there is a small risk of infection at the testing site. However, the risk is very minimal.

Urine sample.  Urine samples may be used to test for bacterial infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. This is one of the simplest and least invasive methods for STI testing, especially for infections that may have a discharge as a common symptom.

SS know your statusSwabs (vagina, anus, throat, etc.). This type of STI testing is somewhat invasive in that your vagina, anus, throat, and in some cases your urethra may be penetrated to collect samples. This method is super useful for STI testing performed during a pelvic exam or for testing open sores. Swabbing is the best way to test for infections in the throat such as gonorrhea.

Finger Prick. Finger prick testing is one of the more recent testing options available. It is great for collecting a small amount of blood. Finger prick testing is now commonly used for HIV antibody testing.

At the Tang Center, we offer a few options to get tested for STIs/HIV  including regular medical appointments, urgent care and most recently through our self-directed testing option. Scheduling a medical appointment is the way to go if you are thinking ahead. Ask for a women’s health, men’s preventive health, or STI check appointment. Urgent care is great if you think you may have been exposed to HIV and would like to start a post-exposure prophylactic. Otherwise, if you think you may have been exposed to an STI other than HIV, there will be a window period (period from time of potential exposure to time STI may be detected via testing) and a regular medical appointment may be your best bet. Lastly, if you are at very low-risk our self-directed testing option is an excellent choice for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV testing. UC Berkeley students with our Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) have one full STI check covered per plan year. Good news, the plan year just started!!!

If you are not a UC Berkeley student or waived out of SHIP, there are still many ways for you to get tested and know your STI and HIV status. If you are in the Berkeley area, a few good options are Berkeley Free Clinic, or the Ann Chandler Public Health Center. If you are a student in West Contra Costa County, in addition to 3 Planned Parenthood locations, Brookside Community Health Center as well as the Richmond Health Center may be great options. You can also request STI and HIV testing with your primary care physician.

Though this blog post is about knowing your status it is also a great idea to educate yourself on the more common STIs including what they are, how they are transmitted, what symptoms may be associated, and how to treat various STIs should you be diagnosed with one. If you would like to chat with someone about this on the UC Berkeley campus, there are several options available to you – health and wellness coaching appointments with myself or my fabulous co-worker Queen Karen Gee, you can enroll in one of our student facilitated courses Sex 101: Topics in Sexual health, Sex and Disability, or FemSex. You can get a group of friends together and request a Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) workshop. If you wuld like an LGBT focused workshop on HIV prevention, Berkeley Builds Capacity (BBC) has you. If you are not a UC Berkeley student, I am more than happy to educate you via phone or email about STIs and HIV. I also teach a Human Sexuality class at San Ramon Valley College enroll and learn from me in person on a regular weekly basis! However, you choose to do it, be sure you go back to school in the know. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

 

Aug 5

Back to School Safe and Sexy for 2014

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoIt’s August. You know what that means – back to school for students!!! For some student’s it’s back to the same school with friends you have known for quite a while. For others it’s time to start a new chapter at a new school! I have been in both positions many times in my life. However, I have found myself in the latter position more often. That coupled with having observed students who leave their friends and family to attend a new college has prompted me to write this back to school blog article for those students who are new to their school, college, or university – whether frosh or transfer this blog’s for you!

As the new person on campus you may feel a little awkward and out of your element. A little less than 7,000 students attended UC Berkeley for the first time as freshmen/women and transfers in fall 2013. While the numbers of frosh and transfer students for the 2014-15 year have yet to be released, rest assured you are not the only one feeling a little awkward and alone. Though academic institutions such as UC Berkeley are largely focused on academia there is also a need for social and personal development as well. It makes perfect sense. To get accepted to an institution like UC Berkeley or Stanford, as a high school student you likely spent a great deal of time focusing on school work and getting the best grades. While this is great, it is too often not coupled with social skills development.

Focusing strictly on academic skill at the expense of social skill development leaves you and other students ill prepared for navigating the social scene in college. Speaking from personal experience as well as professional observation trust me when I say social skills are a must in that most college students will do better academically if they have a social system of support. Here are a few tips to help you meet and keep new friends as you head back to school for 2014:

  1. CautionSay “hi.” One of the most common things students share with me is they don’t know how to meet people. The best advice I have for any of you who find yourself wanting to meet others is to approach the person you’re hoping to meet, smile and say “Hi. I’m_____. What’s your name?” It’s simple and easy to remember. Be sure to smile as it makes your face softer and more inviting. Assuming this first step went well and you have made a new friend, my next suggestions are for those students who may want to take your new found friendship to a sexual level.  Don’t act surprised – you knew it was coming – I’m the Sex Goddess!
  2. Proceed with caution. This is until you hear a clear and enthusiastic “yes” to your sexual request(s). Communicate your desire to have a sexual experience  to your partner. Unless your potential partner has mind reading powers, there is no other way for them to be absolutely sure that you’re interested sexually if you don’t tell them. Keep in mind that just because you tell your new friend that you’d like to be more than friends or friends with benefits, your friend may not feel the same. This does not mean they don’t want to be your friend, it just means they don’t want to be sexual with you at this time. That may or may not change. Either way, no means no. Silence means no. This is just as true for males as it is for females, transgenders, intersex people and anyone else regardless of where you fall along the gender continuum.
  3. Use condoms with each sexual experience. If you’re lucky enough to meet someone AND you’re mutually interested in sharing a sexual experience, fabulous!!! There is nothing sexier than consensual and safer sex between friends with benefits. Traditional and insertive condoms are just what you need to support each other sexually and safely. If you don’t know or are unsure how to use condoms schedule a health and wellness coaching appointment or Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) workshop today!

While the suggestions above are great for those of you heading back to school here in the next couple of weeks or so, there is much more to consider as you prepare to go back to school. I’ll share more back to school sex tips throughout this month. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Jul 12

Communication as Sexual Self-Care

Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoWelcome to another Sexy Saturday. Last week I wrote about sexual self-care as the main key to maintaining good sexual health and wellness. I offered a few tips to help you practice sexual self-care. The first and last tip was about practicing open and honest communication with sexual partners. As a Sexologist at UC Berkeley –   you may have heard of it – you can imagine I am in a unique position to observe students sexual communication skills. Let’s just say they’re lacking a bit – until now. This week I’m going to dive a little deeper into communication as sexual self-care. Instead of continuing to explain why this is important, this article is all about how to practice good communication.

Before delving into the how-to portion, I want to recognize that there may be obstacles to sexual communication. Such obstacles include but are certainly not limited to you and your partner having differing feelings on sex talk; irrational beliefs that your partners should know what you desire. Really? Is your partner psychic? If not, then there is no way for them to read your mind and know what you want – not without communicating your wants and desires in some way. Additional blocks to sexual communication include having a different frame of reference than your partner that may be due to cultural differences. On the UC Berkeley campus, it is entirely possible that you and your partner may also have somewhat of a language barrier as well. Last but not least if you or your partners are feeling some type of way, your emotions may interfere with your ability to effectively communicate.

A great way to get started talking about this is to openly recognize and discuss the difficulties of talking about sex with your partner. I suggest that you select a neutral a time and place to discuss the issue. If the two of you have a place that you both enjoy and feel comfortable I suggest going there. When you arrive request permission to bring up the topic of sexual communication. You can say commuication as self caresomething like “Hey, we haven’t talked much about our sexual wants and desires. I’d really like to do that.  Is this something we can talk about now?” You may have a much sexier way of asking your partner for permission.

After your partner grants permission, it is important that you take the time to learn about your partner’s needs as well as make your own requests. With regard to learning about your partner, it is a good idea to listen to what your partner says and ask questions every now and then. If your partner says something that resonates with you, let them know. Self-disclosure often aids in the development of intimacy.  When it comes to making requests for the things you want and desire it is often best to be specific and use “I” statements. You will also want to validate your partner and the discussion by providing information in a positive way. For example, “I really like when you kiss me. I know it would feel incredible if you kissed my inner thighs when you give me oral. Can we try that?”

During sexual experiences be sure to communicate and let your partner know when he or she is doing something correctly or that you’d like more of. The point here is to accentuate the positive.  Use verbal cues. If you are the partner trying something new or requested ask for feedback. Be open to receiving and making suggestions. It would be naïve of me to think that everyone is comfortable using verbal cues during sexual experiences. Nonverbal cues can be super helpful and hot as well.  Take turns pleasing each other. Don’t be afraid to lead your partner by guiding their hand or placing your hands on their hips to help control movement. Use signals to indicate pleasure such as moaning, smiling, or saying something like, “baby, this feels so good,” “don’t stop, please” or “keep doing what you’re doing.”

Okay, that should be enough to get you on the track to practicing open and honest communication with your current and/or future partner(s). Communication is not only lubrication as I’ve said many times before, but also a great tool to have when practicing sexual self-care. Check back next week, when I write about delivering and receiving criticism, because let’s face it – at some point you’ll have to deal with conflict. How you do so will have important implications for the relationship. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Jun 29

International Kissing Day

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 in UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoDid you know there was a day dedicated to enjoying the pleasure of a kiss? July 6th is International Kissing Day! International kissing day started in the United Kingdom and since spread throughout the world to become known as World Kissing Day to some.

One of my most memorable kisses happened when I was 17 years old. I went on a date with a guy who used to send letters to me through my cousin. At the end of our date he asked if he could kiss me. I hesitantly consented – I’d had a good time and was not sure if a kiss would somehow lessen the experience – and I was glad I did. My date gently put his hands around my waist, pulled me into him and softly kissed my forehead. It was the sweetest kiss I’d ever had. I was smitten and we dated for the next several years.

It’s true when they say there’s a lot in a kiss. You may realize that you have great chemistry with someone you’ve known forever, yet never thought of in a romantic or sexual way, by simply kissing them. You just may discover that your friend is beasty and just what you need. Or it may be that you think you’re attracted to someone until you kiss them and you feel about as much as you would had you been kissing a fish. Either way, a kiss can tell you a lot about how you feel about someone.

In its most basic form kissing is the act of pressing your lips to someone else’s body, often times on the lips as well. Notice I did not say which lips as both are certainly kissable. That’s one of the best things about a kiss; it can be planted anywhere on the body with enthusiastic consent, of course. Though there are many different types of kisses they tend to fall into 1 of 2 categories:

ss intl kissing day1)      The often simple, closed mouth kiss. Can be done on any part of the body. May signify different things depending on where you plant this type of kiss. It can be an innocent peck on the cheek, a sweet kiss on the forehead, or a gentle and sensual kiss on the lips. In some cultures, people greet one another with a simple kiss on the cheek.

2)      The more involved, open mouth kiss. Often done on the mouth, genitals, or anus, yet may be done on any part of the body as well. However, when done on the mouth there may be an exchange of saliva. This type of kiss is commonly referred to as French, TV, or tongue kissing. Other fun names include swapping spit, tongue tango or wrestling. These kinds of kisses may be deeply passionate, just for fun, or somewhere in between.

Kissing is a nice way to show love and affection. It can be a prelude to something more. Kissing can be done to enhance sexual experiences. Kissing is a great way to build and maintain intimacy in romantic and sexual relationships. When you kiss someone, regardless of whom it is you are sending a message that you trust them to a certain extent. You trust them enough to allow them into your personal space during a time that you are likely to have your guard down. Wow, that says a lot!

If there’s a special someone you’ve been hoping and wanting to kiss, International Kissing Day is the perfect excuse to push yourself to do it, with consent, of course. Here are 5 sweet tips for your next kissing debut:

  1. Think positive and plan ahead by using some sort of lip moisturizer. This will help to ensure that your lips are not chapped and cracked when the time comes.
  2. If you’re going for an open mouth kiss, it’s a good idea to make sure your breath is fresh. The person you’re kissing will likely appreciate it.
  3. Take a sip of something, preferably water, to wet your mouth and tongue. There’s nothing worse than getting dry mouth just before the first kiss.
  4. When that moment finally does come relax yourself and your lips before pursing them. You want your lips to be soft when they touch your partner.
  5. Do what feels natural as far as closing your eyes or keeping them open. You’d be amazed how often I’m actually asked about this.

Keep in mind that hugs go great with kisses and both are free! I can’t forget to mention that kissing feels fantastic! Happy kissing. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Jun 25

UC Berkeley Students Respond to Catholic Parents Guide to Sex Ed

Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoI’ve mentioned a time or two that I am on a sex ed exhibit committee at UC Berkeley. Myself and a handful of library professionals are planning an awesome exhibition on the history of sex (mis)education in the United States. While collecting items for the exhibition we came across A Catholic Parent’s Guide to Sex Education (Guide) by Dr. Audrey Kelly. The Guide was published in 1962 a time when views of sex, sexuality, and women’s rights were beginning to be viewed through a lens of free love and reproductive freedom for women.  Even for today, this Guide was comprehensive covering what parents should tell their children about puberty and coming of age issues, dating, relationships, sex at various ages including sex for early and late starters, and marriage.

One of my fellow committee members was thumbing through the book for images – which there are none – when she noticed that students had gotten rather engaged with the text in the form of marginations. “Margination” is the term librarians use to describe writing in the margins of books. Who knew there was an actual term for that?…With so much margination my colleague could not help but read a few aloud to us. I found this to be super interesting. Call me a nosy nerd, but the fact that students felt so compelled to respond to this book and so often peaked my interest. I had to know what else was being said and in response to what.

I borrowed the book to satisfy my curiosity.  I found writings in the margins of several pages. They start on the very first page. Even on the last page of the book, which isn’t even a full page, there were comments. Only in the glossary and index do the comments cease. All in all there are a total of 43 comments made in the margins.  Most of the comments are made in response to sexist or heteronormative content in the book. In addition to commenting students also wrote questions to the author, other readers, and even to themselves which they answered, interestingly.  I counted a total of 10 questions. Though I am not a hand-writing expert, there appears to be at least 4 different students who respond.

My favorite comment comes on the opening page of the book where one student writes “[t]his is one of the most self contradictory, hypocritical, sexist, fucked up and misinforming, distorted books I’ve EVER read – barring some Moonie material perhaps.” This particular student wanted to be sure that each and every person who so much as opened this book was aware of their opinion on this book. While a bit harsh this comment captures the essence of all the other comments in the book.

Catholic guide marginationsMy second favorite side comment was made in regards to something the author wrote about women when attempting to explain how best to raise young men. In the “Late Adolescence” chapter Dr. Kelly, writes “[b]oys, firstly, should be taught to regard women as the weaker sex; despite their many protestations of equality…” to which someone responded in the margins “you aint heard nuthin’ yet.”  I love it! I will reserve my initial comments as they are clearly inappropriate.

One of my other favorite comments was made by a student who discloses via side comments that he or she was a late starter and did not experience a sexual debut until their early 20s. In the chapter “For Late Starters,” the author discusses how embarrassing it can be for a child to receive “instruction upon sexual matters” at a later age.  Apparently the student was in agreement with the author on this and commented “that’s what my stupid mother did.” I fell out laughing! This chapter comes near the end of the book and after reading all of the comments in the book, I just couldn’t help but laugh when I got to this one as I felt I had gotten to know that particular student commented fairly well.

For a book that has been checked out 31 times from May 27, 1963 through April 9, 2003, 43 side comments or “marginations” seem to be a lot.  No other book that we have come across seems to be have elicited as much call and response from the readers. Such comments speak to UC Berkeley students’ acceptance and support of equal rights for men, women, transgender folks, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and heterosexuals. It is more interesting to me that all of these comments were being made years before same-sex marriage was legalized in CA. I wish I knew exactly when the comments were made and by whom. I imagine those early students who felt compelled to respond were likely among those who gave this campus the image and reputation of being a place where you are accepted for who you are regardless of your beliefs.

This PRIDE season, if you are looking for a good laugh and interesting read consider checking out The Catholic Parent’s Guide to Sex Education, oh wait, we have it checked out until April for the sex ed exhibition. Guess you’ll have to come to the exhibition or wait until April to laugh your butt off at the content and comments. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

May 10

Safer Sex Up-Cycling!

Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoWhat do you get when you cross a super sex positive Goddess with a group of UC Berkeley SEXperts and nearly 1500 expired insertive condoms? You get three wonderful and amazing end of the semester projects!

Before I share these awesome projects, I’d like to back up just a bit and give you some background…A few years ago the unit I work in scored an HIV grant that allowed us to purchase a rather large quantity of insertive (female) condoms. Our sex positive purchasing took much longer to distribute than we originally thought. Unfortunately, quite a few condoms expired – approximately 1500. I pulled the condoms from their regular location in the supply closet to be thrown out. However, I started to think about the many items I have made out of expired condoms. Such items include belts, purses, tote bags, earrings, necklaces, and more! Students tend to love my random expired condom gear. As such, I thought “what better way to get rid of so many expired insertive condoms than to have a fun group project making something…anything out of the expired insertive condoms?” Think of it as safer sex up-cycling, if you will.

Project Design 1

Project Design 1

Therefore instead of throwing the expired insertive condoms out, I challenged my UC Berkeley SEXpert students with an assignment to create something special out of them. For this assignment I split the students into 3 groups and gave each group 500 condoms. The instructions were simple: make something in 3D – I didn’t care what. However, I did jokingly say that if I could wear what they design that’d be better. As an incentive I arranged for one lucky group’s design to be on display at the upcoming UC Berkeley Doe Library sex ed exhibit, Bird’s Do It, Bee’s Do It: A century of (mis)education in the US, from September 2014 through March 2015.

Project 1. The first group designed a messenger bag and penis model! The messenger bag is usable – I tried it out last week to carry items back to the office from an outreach event. The bag fits a laptop up to maybe 15”. The penis model is too large to fully fit in the bag.

Project Design 2

Project Design 2

Project 2. The second group designed a classic cut red dress with insertive condoms sewn all over it and accessories! The dress has a matching belt made of red ribbon with the plastic inner ring from the insertive condoms at either end of the belt. As if that wasn’t enough this group also designed a necklace and earrings using the inner rings as well. The plastic rings for the necklace are held together with red and pink bows trimmed in gold. The earrings are actually so practical that I’ve worn them a few different places and no one has a clue that I’m wearing part of a safer sex supply!

Project Design 3

Project Design 3

Project 3. The third group design was also a dress with full accessories! Unlike the red dress, this dress is a more modern style in gray. This dress has a hi-lo ruffle made of insertive condoms. Like the other outfit, there is a matching belt and necklace made using the plastic rings from inside the insertive condom.

So, which design won???? A combination of all three! And it fits perfect! You can see the dress with accessories and messenger bag on display this Fall. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Apr 29

Going Out SHEP Style: Authors, condom projects, awards, and more

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logo

We recently had our final Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) seminar of the semester and traditional end of semester potluck. For the past several semesters we have had an aphrodisiac themed potluck with various forms of entertainment from group presentations, games, to talent shows. However, this semester I decided to do things slightly different and invited Danielle Sepulveres, author of Losing It: The Semi-scandalous story of an ex-virgin, to join us. I’ve discussed this book in an earlier article,  Losing It: A look at Cervical Health Through the Eyes of An Ex-Virgin

Author Danielle Sepulveres poses with SEXperts who won free copies her book, Losing It: The semi-scandalous story of an ex-virgin

Author Danielle Sepulveres poses with SEXperts who won free copies her book, Losing It: The semi-scandalous story of an ex-virgin

Though on a book tour she took time to come chat with my SEXperts at UC Berkeley! Danielle shared a  little about the experience that lead her to write a book on being diagnosed Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) cervical cancer form. She also chatted a bit about how life has changed since publishing a personal story and answered questions. The SEXperts were interested specifically in how disclosing a personal matter in such a public way may have changed how her loved ones view her.

Danielle was kind enough to bring along books to giveaway. She decided that the SEXperts who came up with the best Sexy Names (a name alliteration activity that SHEP is well-known for; e.g., Rockstar Robin) for her and a friend she had with her would win the books. The SEXperts came up several great options. Some names were raunchy such as “Dick Me Down Danielle” while others were sweet like “Delicious Danielle.” Sadly, I do not recall which 3 sexy names won.

First ever  Official SEXpert Certificate!

First ever Official SEXpert Certificate!

As part of our traditional potluck we usually hold the SHEPIs, an award ceremony with varying levels of recognition. The students are given the opportunity to recognize their peers for career-based aspirations, personality traits, knowledge and more. The peer-based awards are meant to be fun. As the staff coordinator, I tend to recognize students that stood out for one reason or another. This semester was no exception. SEXpert Jasmine was recognized for being the SEXPert with the most growth, while Lucero was recognized as the most dedicated and responsible SEXpert. Student Leader, Summer, was recognized for being the Student Leader to make the most growth during her time in SHEP. If  that wasn’t exciting enough, this year along with the standard SHEPIs, we also recognized those students who went above and beyond the minimum program requirements to earn the first ever SHEP completion certificates making them official SEXperts. That’s super HOT!

We certainly had an interesting and intriguing year here in the Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP). In addition to having Danielle join us, and presenting the first official SEXpert awards, the SEXperts shared their final Insertive Condom group projects.  This exciting project deserves its own blog article which is coming soon. Until next time…

 

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

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