Talking to Your Doctor About S-E-X! (March 9th)

March 9th @ 12pm @ Sarah Doyle Women’s Center Lounge (26 Benevolent St.)

Scared of the OBGYN? Don’t know what to expect from a prostate exam? Have NO CLUE what a visit to the doctor entails when it comes to sexual functioning? Join Justine Shuey, trained sexuality educator and board-certified sexologist, to learn how to be a better advocate for your own personal sexual health.

An educated patient is a healthy patient, especially because most doctors receive less than one week of sex-ed as part of their professional training regimen. It’s up to YOU to advocate for your health!

In this workshop, learn what to expect, and what questions to ask your doctor whether you are going in for a regular checkup or whether you have specific concerns about your sexual health. See instruments used in sexual health assessments and learn how they work. Learn to be more involved with your doctor and your overall medical well-being. We will also discuss kink aware professionals and how to find them.

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An Allegory in Response to Folks Bashing Sex Week

My advisor is a fanatic about underwater photography, and so, is also a scuba diving enthusiast. Throughout our advising sessions, she’s talked to me a lot about the scuba-diving conferences she’s gone to in her life.

The first thing I asked her was this: “Professor, do all these events have to happen in aquatic centers? I mean, surely, the conference’s goal is to get people to try scuba diving if they haven’t, right?”

And she shook her head. “No, of course not! These conferences are about scuba diving as an entity: subcultures form around it, ecosystems of equipment and accouterments are invented to enhance the dive, the political issues around diving near shipwrecks, etc., and we talk about all of this, but we also know that the actual act of scuba diving isn’t for everyone. Some can’t swim. Some don’t like water. The organizers understand that some are terrified or disgusted by the idea of volutarily going under water, breathing air from a tank, and that’s why no one’s forced to attend any of our lectures. I certainly enjoy scuba diving, but I’d never forcefully encourage anyone to do so if he didn’t want to.”

This started sounding pretty interesting. “Subcultures? Political issues?”

My advisor nodded in that knowing way. “Did you know that some cultures make a big deal of the “first dive,” that it is somewhat of a rite of passage? Not everyone treats it as a perfunctory ‘oh, let me rent a wetsuit and hire an instructor’ sport as we do nowadays. So there was a lecture on that…There was also an excellent talk by this English professor who discussed scuba diving in literature, and how it reflects attitudes various cultures have taken toward it.”

“This conference has also invited medical professionals to talk about conditions that make scuba diving an unsuitable activity for a person, or what the health risks of scuba were, but to discuss what conditioning exercises someone could do to increase their suitability for scuba diving, and, especially, what one should do to minimize risk of injury.”

I was nodding with interest, but started to get a little puzzled. I mean, doesn’t this theory stuff get boring? What about people who really do want to, forgive the pun, dive right in?

“They had demonstrations of various tanks and masks, and some people get to try them on. That’s actually fairly important–does this mask hurt my face? Is this tank the right size for my body? Equipment’s expensive, you know, and no one wants to make a less-than-fully-informed purchase. Dive enthusiasts, all trained, are nearby to answer questions.”

“There was also an interesting talk on alternative dive-related activities, and their legality. They’re seen as riskier, but if practiced safely, aren’t really any more dangerous than ordinary diving. Nevertheless, some areas will revoke your dive permit if you’re caught attempting one of these activities, which is a questionable decision, in my opinion, of course. Some feel that as long as the risk is known to the diver and the activity doesn’t damage the environment or other divers, it’s ok.”

I now had a question. “And what stance do the conference organizers take on these alternative dive-forms?”

“Generally, the attitude is towards one of personal responsibility. Like, if you’re advanced enough as a diver–physically, intellectually, technically–to research these dives, you should be allowed to attempt them. But we don’t at all encourage people to try them, or imply that these forms are superior in any way. I love plunging down a few dozen feet and just waiting for a beautiful sea creature to float by.”

So now I actually had to go to class, but I wanted to ask one final question. “I have to go to class now, but can you send me a link to this conference? I’m really curious about scuba-diving and its many facets. Though, I can’t swim. I would have flunked Cornell. Would I be uncomfortable? No one’s going to push me into the pool, right?”

She gave me a look that was a definitive “no.” “No, no one’s going to push you into the pool or even put a mask on you. That might happen at a pool party, but this conference isn’t one. I’ll send you the link. Have a good class!”

I’m not sure if I like swimming. but from that conversation, I knew that if there was ever a place to learn about responsible, safe scuba diving, it was at one of those conferences.

Condom Carnival (Feb. 16th)

A celebration of Condom Week ’11! (Feb 14 – Feb 21)

Date/Time: Wednesday, February 16 · 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: Near Faunce/Campus Center

We’ll have games, condom flowers, free lube + condoms, and button-making!

*Lube-tasting station*
We’ll have an assortment of lube in pump bottles or little packets for people to taste! We’ll also have free lube samples you can take home, as well as info sheets about the types of lube available out there!

*Condom station with “Cockboard” *
A display of a variety of condoms so you can check them out before taking them home. Free condoms galore, as well as info sheets on the types of condoms available out there.

*Safer Sex Superhero Station* courtesy of SHAG & Health Ed
Condom Man and Friends materials including coloring pages and button making! Copies of the Little Brown Book will also be available.

*”Food For Thought” game station*
2 or 3 people at a time have a set number of fruits and veggies to cover up with condoms. The person who covers them all in the least amount of time OR who covers the MOST in a given amount of time wins!

A larger version of this will happen for Sex Week (March 13-19th), so be on the lookout for that!

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Check out our blogpost on Amplify.

Events with Sarah Dopp: Let’s talk about gender, labels, community, and the web!

“Labels Don’t Explain Me: How to talk about gender and sexuality with the ones who don’t understand”
Feb 15 @ Sarah Doyle Women’s Center lounge (26 Benevolent St.) @ 12pm

Gender and sexuality can be tricky topics with big messy-beautiful ranges of possibility. When the standard labels don’t describe who we are, how do we help the people around us understand? Heck, even when our labels ARE considered standard, how do we talk more deeply about them? How do we describe ourselves to friends and lovers? To classmates and coworkers? What about to our employers? Our parents?

In this discussion workshop with Sarah Dopp (creator of many amazing things, including Genderfork.com), we’ll discuss how to approach these subjects tactfully, with respect for our relationships and respect for ourselves.

Beauty in Ambiguity: Gender, Community and the Internet
Feb 16 @ MacMillan 115 (167 Thayer St.) @ 7pm

Curious about what it takes to rally online communities, especially when it comes to gender & sexuality? Want to learn more about harnessing the power of the internet and finding beauty in the spaces that defy and transform boundaries? Then don’t miss this talk with Sarah Dopp (sarahdopp.com)–tech professional & activist.

Sarah’s the founder of Genderfork.com, a supportive community for the expression of identities across the gender spectrum. She’s also addicted to rallying communities on the internet and trying to change the world. In this talk, she will speak about her adventures in online community organizing, how she taps the magic of the Internet, and what she’s learned about non-traditional gender along the way.

These events brought to you by SHEEC and the Brown Queer Alliance (via QCC).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.

For Immediate Release
Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.

Contact: 
Megan Andelloux
HiOhMegan@gmail.com
401-345-8685

Contact: Aida Manduley
Aida_manduley@brown.edu
787-233-0025

In yet another attempt to shut down access to quality sex education, South-Eastern New England conservative advocates hit the sex panic button in a multi-state, email and phone campaign to colleges all over New England last week.

On February 3rd and 4th , certified sexuality educator and sexologist Megan Andelloux (AASECT, ACS) received word that numerous colleges and university faculty received a document stating that colleges who brought sex educators such as Ms. Andelloux onto their campuses were linked to the increasing rate of transmission of HIV in RI. Furthermore, among other misleading “facts” that were “cited,” the author of this bulletin claimed that Brown University was facing an HIV crisis, which is false.

Citizens Against Trafficking, the face behind the fear-mongering, spammed numerous local institutions from a University of Rhode Island account with its latest malicious missive that targeted specific individuals as well as Brown University. The author of the letter, Margaret Brooks, an Economics Professor at Bridgewater State, suggested that colleges and universities that host sexuality speakers, including those who are professionally accredited, are partly to blame for the four new cases of HIV which have been diagnosed amongst RI college students this year.

Ms. Andelloux states: “My heart goes out to those students who have recently tested positive for HIV. However, there is no evidence of any link between campus presentations on sexual issues and the spike in HIV cases. Rather, I would suggest that this demonstrates a need for more high-quality sex education to college students.“ It is unclear why people at URI or Citizens Against Trafficking, a coalition to combat all forms of human trafficking, is attempting to stop adults from accessing sexual information from qualified, trained educators. What is certain however, is that this Professor of Economics miscalculated her suggestion that a correlation exists between increased HIV rates in Rhode Island and the type of sex education these speakers provided at Brown University: one that emphasized accurate information, risk-reduction, pleasure, and health.

Barrier methods have been shown by the CDC to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Research has shown that when individuals have access to medically accurate information, are aware of sexual risk reduction methods, and have access to learn about sexual health, the number of infections and transmission of STIs decreases, pain during sex decreases, and condom use increases. The CAT circulated bulletin is blatantly misleading about many issues, and often omits information that is crucial to understanding the full picture of sex education at Brown and in Rhode Island.

When individuals who do not hold any background in sexuality education speak out in opposition because of their fear or prejudice, society becomes rooted in outdated beliefs and pseudo-science that do injustice to people everywhere. Furthermore, when those individuals personally and publicly attack those devoted to providing sex education with false and misinformed accusations, it not only hurts those who are defamed, but also the community at large.

We ask for an immediate retraction of the vilifying and inaccurate statements made by Ms. Margaret Brooks and Citizens Against Trafficking in their latest newsletter. We also ask that esteemed local universities such as URI and Bridgewater State continue to hold their employees to ethical standards of normal scientific inquiry and require that their faculty hold some modicum of expertise in a field of education before raising the public level of panic over it.

Megan Andelloux is available to answer any questions the press, Margaret Brooks, University of Rhode Island or Citizens Against Trafficking holds. Aida Manduley, the Chair of Brown University’s Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and Brown University’s is available to discuss the upcoming Sex Week and sexuality workshops held at Brown University.

Signed,
Megan Andelloux
Shanna Katz
Reid Mihalko
Aida Manduley

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