Posts Tagged ‘sti’s’
But the Talk Provides Frank and Open Health Facts
Students Gather To Learn About Hot, Safer Sex
Published 13 December 2010
Last Friday, everyone in the Women’s Center clutched what looked like oversized plastic Easter eggs that were not filled with candy. Their workshop leader warned everyone not to open the packages prematurely; they were Tenga eggs, flexible and doughy masturbatory tools, part of a goodie assortment that also included various lubes.
“This isn’t really the appropriate time to break them out,” their workshop leader said. “Now, to get started, if you have a cell phone, please put it on vibrate and stick it between your legs.”
Last Friday, the Women’s Center was overflowing with people trying not to sit on each other, all of them facing a table crowded with brightly colored sex toys and lube. They squeezed into the Smith/Burdick basement for a workshop by Oh Megan!, or MeganAndelloux, a board certified sexologist and nationally certified sex educator who came wielding tools of the trade to educate on “Supersex”: safe sex that’s hot and fun.
Skyler Volpe ’13, a student coordinator of the Women’s Center, said that Andelloux used to come to Conn through the Feminist Majority group, which has since been absorbed by the Women’s Center. “Her presentations were always well attended and widely talked about, so we wanted to bring her back this year,” she said. “She was glad to come back to Conn!”
“She eliminated all potential awkwardness for the audience from the beginning,” said Rachel Saltzman ‘14. “By telling us about herself and her background from the start, we could think of her as a real person and not as this strange sex speaker.”
Andelloux loosened up the crowd by chatting amiably about what led her to our campus. She worked for Planned Parenthood for nine years, but was “burned out by the bad stuff,” like the onslaught of teen pregnancy and STDs. She now wants to teach young adults that there are ways to make safe sex exciting, no matter your gender or sexual orientation.
“I really enjoyed how diplomatic and sexually unbiased she was,” said Alia Roth ’14. Andelloux took the time to explain that she would differentiate between “penis-owners” and “vagina-owners,” but these terms did not imply gender identity or sexual preference.
Her presentation commenced with a plush vulva puppet she named Veronica, the exploration of which allowed the audience to view a cartoonishly large, fluffy replica of the clitoris, the labia and even the G-spot (Stickers exclaiming “The G-spot does exist!” were included in the goodie collections).
Andelloux bluntly explained that “while deep-dicking sounds lovely,” there are more nerve endings towards the front of the vagina, and fewer the deeper one ventures. Additionally, the clitoris is about six inches long, but can get up to eight when stimulated, and is most sensitive in its upper left quadrant.
Sequentially, Andelloux hefted out an alarmingly large and apparently rare uncircumcised dildo to educate about the penis. She explained that circumcision was not the only method originally employed to suppress children’s sexual desires: the blandness of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and graham crackers were also used. They, as she pointed out, did not work.
Andelloux shared other “fun facts” throughout the presentation, including a few on the penis: length is not as important to vaginal stimulation as girth, the average speed of ejaculation is thirty five miles per hour (though the shots can reach eighty), the scrotum is constantly moving, and (lightly!) pulling down on the sack during foreplay or intercourse, will delay orgasm.
This last one was particularly useful information, because Andelloux then indicated that the average national penis-owner “lasts” about two minutes.
To demonstrate, three volunteers were called to the front of the room and instructed to thrust with invisible partners, persistently.
“You’re doing it wrong!” Andelloux yelled at them as she stood aside, smirking. “You’re not going fast enough! Faster! Ow, you’re hurting me!”
The crowd was atwitter and the volunteers were panting and laughing when she called Time; they had cleared a mere 46 seconds.
Next on the agenda was a discussion of the orgasm, which Andelloux indicated to be very healthy for the body: it lowers stress, helps sleep, can alleviate mild depression, and even allows wounds to heal faster.
She then transitioned into a talk on vibrators, tools originally created as a treatment for hysteria.
“Some people don’t want to use them because they say they want to do it ‘the natural way,’” said Andelloux. “Well, toilets aren’t natural, but they make our lives better.”
Vagina-owners on average take ten to twenty minutes to get off, which means the best way they can achieve orgasm during intercourse is through practice with self-stimulation first. “The G-spot is not like the Staples ‘Easy’ button,” said Andelloux.
The workshop drew to a close after an extensive run-through of sex toys and supplements, from lubes (the water-based kind can increase STI transmission, she cautioned; go with silicon-based instead) to strap-ons (Volpe unabashedly volunteered to wear it as Andelloux demonstrated applying a condom with her mouth) to whips and funky vibrators. A crowd favorite was OhMiBod, a dildo that syncs up with your iPod and vibrates to the beat of the song of your choice.
Andelloux took some questions the audience had written anonymously on note cards. One asked for blowjob and handjob tips. She taught some moves – the ‘bottle-cap’ and the ‘octopus’ among them – but added, “Be confident, and be enthusiastic. You’d be amazed by how far that goes.”
“The center was packed, and people looked genuinely enthusiastic and interested in her presentation,” said Volpe. “It was also really cool to see so many people in the Center. It’s a beautiful space that doesn’t see nearly enough love from the campus community.”
Said Peter Herron ’14, “Andelloux knew exactly what she was doing. I would thoroughly recommend that girls learn from the vast wisdom this amazing woman has to offer. I definitely learned a thing or two myself.” •
Special Note: Water-Based Lubricant DOES NOT INCREASE STI TRANSMISSION. In controlled lab studies (not human based research), certain water-based lubricants damaged cell structures. This is preliminary research. For more information, please see http://www.microbicides2010.org/files/LubesDezzuttiAbstract.pdf
WholeDC Presents Megan Andelloux: The New Gay Interview
11 DECEMBER 2009, 12:00 PM
This post was submitted by michael
A bitter winter wind keeps whipping through DC, trundling brown fallen leaves through the city streets. One can hardly find defense outside from its icy wheezing. Luckily this weekend, however, someone well acquainted with cold December climate is coming to town with some tools to help us heat up the holiday season! AASECT certified Sexuality Educator and ACS certified Sexologist Megan Andelloux has been recruited by WholeDC to give two back-to-back workshops Saturday, “How to Please a Woman in Bed” and “How to Please a Man in Bed.” A resident of Pawtucket, Rhode Island (home of Hasbro; the people who brought you Jem, Mr. Potato Head, and My Little Ponies) and a self-proclaimed “sex nerd,” Megan is extending an invitation to all genders and orientations to come learn some new ways to get warm[wink]!
Megan is an author in the book “We Got Issues,” a feminist response to cultural attitudes on feminism, and a frequent expert contributor to sexualhealth.com. She is also the Founder and Director of the non-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, RI. Charming, charismatic, and sincere, Megan has devoted herself to educating people about sexual health and pleasure. Through her sexual education workshops at numerous colleges and medical schools, and work with local medical providers, Megan has become renowned for her engaging teaching style, depth of knowledge, and activism. Come out to see a true Rhode Island treasure this Saturday, you won’t be disappointed! To learn more about Megan’s efforts in community outreach and her experiences as a sex educator, see the interview below. Also, take some time to peruse her amazing website providing sexual health information, reviews of popular sex toys, and sex-positive advice.
December 12, 2009 – WholeDC Presents Megan Andelloux
“How to Please a Woman in Bed” (4:00-5:30pm; Café Salsa, upstairs; $20)
“How to Please a Man in Bed” (6:30-8:00pm; Café Salsa, upstairs; $20)
(Come for both classes, $30)
**see http://wholedc.com for more details**
The New Gay: Megan, you’re a certified sex educator and sexologist. What got you started on this rather unconventional path?
Megan Andelloux: There were a couple of things. First, in college, I had a knack for memorizing sex facts… [laughs] although I’m not really sure where that came from because I was studying marine biology (at the University of Rhode Island). When you’re in college you talk about sex all the time. In small groups of friends I realized that people kept hitting on the same questions, questions I had been hearing since high school. That started to pique my interest… you know, why the same questions were still unresolved years later. Then I ended up taking a human sexuality course, as a filler, and fell in LOVE with the topic. There my penchant for sex facts came in handy. And things sort of just came together.
The other part, which I didn’t really acknowledge in the beginning, but after four years in the field I realized, was that the field of sex education was a way for me to explore sexuality in a safe manner. I had been sexually assaulted, and it wasn’t allowed to be talked about at the time. And our culture seemed to reinforce a fear of talking about this thing that, although it was on everyone’s mind, no one seemed to be able to discuss openly.
TNG: Did you find it disheartening that this thing we have consistently done as a population since the beginning of our species (having sex), was so crippling to talk about in public?
MA: Of course! And you can see how it affects us, just look at the recent obsession with Tiger Woods. I think one of the reasons people get so wrapped up in celebrity sex scandals is because they finally give us permission to talk openly about sex. Focusing judgment and blame away from us, we readily engage in conversations about someone else’s sex life. And sometimes that can be a useful way to facilitate more probing discussion. But we need to be able to have these discussions about ourselves, and our own sexualities.
TNG: You do a lot of educational outreach within the medical community. Can you tell me a little about that work?
MA: Sure, there are two facets of my work in the medical community. One is teaching medical providers about sexuality issues, and how to be sex-positive providers. For a lot of people, their doctor is a primary source of adult sex education. So I give workshops at medical schools, of the ilk I run at any other university. We go over sex work issues, sex toys, BDSM play, etc, to make sure they are exposed to the information and to help create a language through which they can talk to their patients comfortably. Medical students are really focused, and they learn a lot about the diseases of the body… but issues of sexual health and behavior extend past mere physical abnormalities and disease. If you don’t train people to deal with these broader issues, they aren’t as well equipped to provide health information to the public. Or worse, when confronted with candid questions they get that “deer in headlights” look, which then affects the patient’s willingness to seek out similar health advice in the future.
The other role I play in the medical community is as a gynecological teaching assistant.
TNG: Um, yeah, with that last one… which side of the examining table are you on?
MA: [laughs] Oh, I’m on the table! Part of this work is helping medical students practice their first gynecological examinations. The other part is helping established providers conduct pelvic exams on women who have been sexually assaulted, and how to make it less traumatizing. In both cases, beyond practicing physical technique there is a focus on infusing the right type of language and discussion into the examination. A small example is getting doctors to use phrases like “that looks healthy” instead of “that looks normal” … because “normal” is ambiguous and less informative. These are simple adjustments to the exam, but you’d be surprised at how much of a difference they make in effectively communicating with a patient.
TNG: Another part of your work is sexuality education to the general public, at college campuses or workshops like the one this Saturday… is it hard to establish a common ground between a sexually diverse crowd?
MA: No, not at all. Again, language is powerful and I think people can get very caught up in the language of sexuality, and the labels. But during my workshops I try to give a disclaimer that we have all joined in a place of support and respect. And besides, we are all there to talk about genitalia. I tend to use very general terms that are relatable to a diverse group, but it is important for people to know they have the permission to be themselves and to ask any question, and as a group we can find a common language.
TNG: For readers interested in attending your workshop this weekend, what should they expect? A medical overview of sex, personal experience stories, or just Q&A?
MA: I usually start off with some type of game, to warm everyone up… because it can be very nerve-racking to be sitting amongst strangers and talking about sex. I have puppets and toys, or I’ll have the group all talk dirty, just something sassy to lighten the mood [laughs]. Next, we’ll spend about 45 minutes going over anatomy. I think it’s important to build upon the general sex education we were taught in high school, and rediscover the same anatomy from a pleasure perspective… like why your body feels this way when you get touched here or apply pressure there, that sort of thing. We’ll go over all the erogenous zones, and tricks to wake them up in fun new ways. Then we go into behaviors. Questions are usually infused throughout, whenever they pop up. But you can also write anonymous questions down in the beginning of the class, and I will answer them at the end. In total, each workshop lasts almost two hours. People don’t all learn in the same way, so I definitely try to use a variety of teaching strategies and make the group as interactive as possible. I rely heavily on the extensive training I received working in the education department of Planned Parenthood affiliates to try to create a sense of comfort, and to engage people to learn and participate.
TNG: Through your work, have you noticed contemporary sexuality issues becoming prominent that haven’t been so prevalent historically?
MA: We continually struggle with getting quality sex education out to the public, and facilitating open communication. But more recently, there is a rise in discussion of porn and sex work issues. For example, there has been a dramatic increase in the labeling of “sex addiction” in our country, and debate around whether we are over-sexed as a culture. Often, focal points of this debate center on the prevalence of cheating scandals in the news, increased awareness of open relationships, and widespread acceptance of masturbation. Often conservative rhetoric in these issues relies heavily on a stance of victimization. We especially see a growing debate on the victimization of women in porn and sex work. Discussions like these bring up important issues, like how do you decide if someone is being victimized… and who gets the power to make that decision; lawmakers, interest groups, or the individuals engaged in the behavior? Who gets to set the moral values through which these actions are discussed? Why aren’t we talking about queer porn… are women the only ones subject to victimization? Is there such a thing as consensual prostitution? I am excited that communication is being initiated in the public, but I still think the current debate isn’t yet addressing the heart of these issues.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the XXX Church. It is an anti-pornography group that seems to campaign a great deal against people masturbating, particularly men. They have been going around to college campuses with Jon Jeremy to debate issues of the benefits and hazards of porn and masturbation. These discussions are really interesting, and in time they will hit on something even more substantive. In the process, though, we should raise our awareness of the sources of our sexual information, and start thinking about who then gets to make decisions about what forms of sexual behavior are appropriate.
TNG: What is one of the most shocking things you’ve heard in discussing sex with the public?
MA: Recently I had someone disclose to me that they had put anti-bacterial hand sanitizer on their vagina to prevent STDs. Equally shocking to me, however, is when I hear that one partner feels pain during sex, but never communicates that to the other partner. We desperately need to get better at talking about sex!
TNG: On your website, you promote “feminist sex shops.” Can you describe for me the modern feminist, and what issues are most important to her?
MA: The modern feminist group that I would belong to would probably be, very simply, described as pro-choice. We want access to CHOICES in sexual education, reproductive rights, and sexual identity. We want to define as individuals what we consent to, and be free to engage in consensual behavior with others. I highlight feminist sex shops because I think that women are really playing a prominent role in guiding the discussion and advancement of sexuality in today’s society.
TNG: What made you decide to choose Pawtucket, RI to open your Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health?
MA: Well, my partner is a physician at the local hospital. But it’s more than just that. I’ve always really liked Rhode Island’s quirkiness. We lived in the Boston area for a while, but I missed Rhode Island and wanted to come back.
TNG: You seem to be getting a lot of resistance toward opening your business, can you tell me a little bit about that?
MA: The only resistance I’ve encountered has stemmed from one woman and a city official. I think both were scared of the idea of the business, and acted before they really investigated it. Unfortunately, they have a lot of power so their resistance has been felt very strongly. However, the rest of the population of Rhode Island, and even the rest of the country, have been in huge support. I’ve not received a single letter, email, or phone call from anyone expressing opposition to my business.
TNG: What continues to drive you in your work as a sex educator?
MA: “I believe that people should be able to know about their bodies, and how to appreciate and enjoy their bodies. It’s a fundamental right that we should have. And I think that anytime you stand up for something you believe in, it causes change to happen.”
TNG: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! It was such a pleasure to learn more about your work, and the upcoming WholeDC event!