There’s a reason I picked the name ‘Burning Rubber‘, and not ‘Desire’ or ‘Nerve Endings’. Well, a couple reasons. I pitched it as a joke and realized seconds later it was the best title yet. Beyond that, it refers to something I value deeply– safety.
No, I don’t believe everyone must use ‘rubbers’ (condoms) for all recreational sex. But your health matters above everything. Good health means good sex, happiness, a clear head—while I don’t like being overly deterministic, I have found that life experience, observation and a slew of scholarly studies all underscore the significance of these correlations consistently.
So before getting into social/political/cultural/etc. talk on sex, I want to use this second column as a chance to overview some practical sexual health info, along with tips on campus centers to visit for sexual health information, services and resources for no or little money.
First off, google ‘basic sexual anatomy’ if you don’t know what the female and male reproductive organs are called, look like or do.
There are already enough people and organizations, like Sahaya International, that are easy to find, and that provide comprehensive descriptions and diagrams on sexual anatomy. (Still feel free to email me with questions if the internet didn’t answer all of yours or you’re afraid of your parents checking your browser/search history.)
Second, the terms ‘contraceptive’ and ‘barrier method’ mean different things.
‘Contraceptive’ describes anything that prevents pregnancy. Barrier methods (i.e. condoms mainly) describe a specific kind of contraceptive that prevents the exchange of most genital fluids.
While condoms are the most effective barrier method at preventing pregnancy and STI/STD contraction, they do not protect against the transmission of all infections, even when used properly. For complete information on condom safety and other contraceptives, I recommend checking out Advocates for Youth’s page.
Other forms of contraceptives work in several different ways: by hormonally altering a woman’s cycle, chemically destroying sperm before they can fertilize eggs, or, as is the case with barrier methods, preventing sperm from entering the vagina.
Next, let’s over our campus’s four primary sexual health information/services resources:
Everyone should visit the Women’s Resource Center. While women-centered, Director Cathy Seasholes says the office can be useful to anyone. It provides informational pamphlets and advice on sexual and emotional health, relationships and women’s issues, free of charge.
WRC also has a library of books and videos on issues like pregnancy and domestic violence. Additionally, the Center hosts film screenings, discussion groups and other events, which are often about sex-related topics.
Couples and individuals dealing with relationship problems and domestic abuse can go to WRC for walk-in and support counseling. The Center doesn’t provide regular sessions. WRC staff will refer people who need further counseling to Norris or other clinics and hospitals in the area. The Center will also refer people to other offices and medical clinics for information or services on other health matters, such as STI-testing.
The LGBT Resource Center, located next to WRC, also provides a lot of sexual health resources to everyone, no matter what their sexuality is. According to Hui Xie of the LGBT RC, they have pamphlets, a knowledgeable staff and a library of books, mainly on LGBT issues.
You can also go to the Recourse Center to find out about local counseling and medical clinics for things like HIV-testing, along with Milwaukee’s array of other LGBT and LGBT-friendly organizations and businesses.
Best of all, they give out a variety of different FREE condoms, dental dams and lube packets (limit: three per visit).
While not an office to visit for sex and health related services or library books, the Peer Health Educators organize at least three events each year to inform students on sex, sexuality and sexual health.
According to Director Brian Stahlkopf, these include programs like the Condom Olympics, which was held in collaboration with the Student Housing Administrative Council during Welcome Week at the start of fall and Sex Week last November.
Norris is probably the cheaper place you can go for birth control in college. Monthly birth control pill prices range from $12.60 to $24.40, with most costing less than $20. Condoms are $1 for ten (with a maximum purchase of 30 per visit), and the Plan B pill is $20.
Let me know if you have any other questions about sexual/etc. health information and services on or near campus. Peace out and stay healthy. : )