SHOP - Student Health Outreach & Promotion: Sexual Health
HIV Prevention Program volunteers and staff help provide the UCSC community with the information, resources and support to lower their risk for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). SHOP uses student volunteers, with the help of student interns - under the supervision of the SHOP Coordinator - to run sexual health outreach and education activities and events. There are always opportunities for students to get involved and make a difference at UCSC -- either with existing programs or starting something new!
SHOP has a general volunteer list serve. You'll get announcements letting you know ways to get involved - both large and small. It also lists relevant activities happening on-campus and in the community. If you are interested in becoming involved as a volunteer, asking a question regarding HIV/AIDS or other STIs, or just getting periodic updates about SHOP activities - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Condom Co-Op
The Condom Co-op provides condoms, dental dams, lubricants and other safer sex supplies to the campus community at a lower cost than you would find anywhere else. Students staff the Co-op at various places and times around campus.
Students also can also purchase safer sex supplies by visiting the Health Center Pharmacy, open daily from 9AM - noon; 1:30 - 4:45PM.
Look for the Condom Co-op at dances and other special events (e.g., plays, lectures). Sometimes accompanying the Co-op is the Sex Booth -- a table full of sex toys, books and other erotica to help promote healthy communication around sex and sexuality.
If you are interested in bringing the Condom Co-op and/or Sex Booth to an event, or in volunteering to staff the Condom Co-op, please contact us at email@example.com
Download The Condom Brochure:
Free Anonymous HIV Testing
All undergraduate UCSC students are eligible for free & anonymous HIV testing provided by highly trained SHOP Peer Test Counselors. We take pride that UCSC uses student peer test counselors – one of the few HIV testing programs in the country that utilizes peer-peer test counseling.
Drop-in Free & Anonymous HIV Testing @ SHOP is available Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm. No appointments necessary. Results in 20 minutes!
Follow the above link and you will find a wealth of information about safer sex and contraceptive options. There are many points you should consider as you and your partner chose a method that fits both of your lifestyles. Condoms and dental dams are often recommended as the best safer sex choice for college students, but you may need to try different options until you find the one that best suits you. An individual may switch methods because of changes in relationships, age, health, economic security and lifestyle. To help you decide which method to use, you may want to consider the following questions as you read through these pages:
- Will it fit into your lifestyle?
- How convenient is it to use?
- How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?
- Will it help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
- How safe is it?
- How much will it cost?
Is Abstinence for Me?
People are abstinent for many reasons, including preventing pregnancy. Whether you're thinking about being abstinent, you are abstinent, or you're just someone who's curious about it, you may have many questions.
What Is Abstinence?
How Does Abstinence Prevent Pregnancy?
How Effective Is Abstinence?
How Safe Is Abstinence?
What Are the Benefits of Abstinence?
What Are the Disadvantages of Abstinence?
How Do I Talk with My Partner About Being Abstinent?
How Can I Stay Abstinent?
You may have heard people talk about abstinence in different ways.
Some people think of abstinence as not having vaginal intercourse. They may enjoy other kinds of sex play that don't lead to pregnancy. This is better described as outercourse.
Some people define abstinence as not having vaginal intercourse when a woman might get pregnant. This is better described as period abstinence, which is one of the fertility awareness-based methods of birth control.
And some people define abstinence as not having any kind of sex play with a partner. This is the definition we use on these pages.
Being continuously abstinent is the only way to be absolutely sure that you won't have an unintended pregnancy or get a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Abstinence prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm out of the vagina.
Used continuously, abstinence is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. It also prevents STIs.
Abstinence is one of the safest ways to prevent pregnancy — there are no side effects.
- has no medical or hormonal side effects
- is free
Women and men abstain from sex play for many reasons — even after they've been sexually active. A couple may even choose to be abstinent after having had sex play with each other. The reasons people choose to be abstinent may change throughout life.
People choose abstinence to
- prevent pregnancy
- prevent STDs
- wait until they're ready for a sexual relationship
- wait to find the "right" partner
- have fun with romantic partners without sexual involvement
- focus on school, career, or extracurricular activities
- support personal, moral, or religious beliefs and values
- get over a breakup
- heal from the death of a partner
- follow medical advice during an illness or infection
Any woman or man can abstain from sex play. Many do so at various times in their lives. Some choose to abstain from sex play for a great part of their lives.
There are few disadvantages to abstinence.
- People may find it difficult to abstain for long periods of time.
- Women and men often end their abstinence without being prepared to protect themselves against pregnancy or infection.
Talking with your partner about your decision to abstain from sex play is important — whether or not you've had sex play before. Partners need to be honest with each other and make sexual decisions together. These are some of the best ways to keep a relationship happy. Even so, it may not be easy to do. You may feel awkward or embarrassed.
- It's best to talk about your feelings before things get sexual. For many people it's hard to be clear about what they want if they get aroused. It is helpful to think — ahead of time — about how you can say "no" to sex play. What behavior will be clear? What words will be best? You can practice saying the words out loud. Then think about how someone might respond to you.
- Take the time to consider fully what being abstinent will mean for you. It is important to know what you are thinking and feeling and what you need. Then you can tell your partner about it.
- Be straightforward about the limits you want to set.
Keep in mind that having sex is not the only way two people can get to know each other. Sex play is also not the only way couples can be close. People get closer as they build trust by:
- being honest
- respecting each other's thoughts and feelings
- enjoying one another's company
Abstinence can only work when both partners agree to it. So it is also helpful to keep talking with each other about why you've agreed to abstain from sex play. Your relationship may change. And your decision to be abstinent may change, too.
Staying abstinent is a choice you make every day. There are ways to help yourself with that choice.
- Remind yourself why you chose to be abstinent.
- Think about the consequences.
- Don't reevaluate your decision to stay abstinent during sexually charged situations — stick with your decision until you can think about it with a clear head.
Abstinence can be difficult for some people. Women and men need to be clear about their reasons to stay abstinent. If you are tempted to have sex play, it helps to remember why you made the decision to be abstinent in the first place. How can you stay abstinent? Think about your answers to these questions:
- Am I clear about why I want to be abstinent?
- Am I aware of situations that could make staying abstinent difficult for me? Can I avoid them?
- Alcohol and other drugs can affect my judgment and decision-making ability. How do I feel about not using them?
- Are there people in my life I can talk to about my decision to be abstinent? Will they be supportive?
Most people stop being abstinent at some point in their lives. When you decide not to be abstinent, ask yourself
- Do I have information about other methods of birth control and do I have access to them?
- Do I know how to protect myself from STDs?
For more information about abstinence, you can visit:
Advocates For Youth
Sexuality Information & Education Council of the United States
What do you know about sex? What do you know about sexuality? We hear about sex and sexuality almost every day, but much of what we hear is inaccurate and can be confusing. A basic understanding of sex and sexuality can help us sort out myth from fact and help us all enjoy our lives more.
We are all sexual. We are sexual from the day we are born until the day we die. Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves as sexual beings.
Our sexuality includes:
- our bodies, including our sexual and reproductive anatomy
- our biological sex — male, female, or intersex
- our gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender
- our gender identities — our comfort with and feelings about our gender
- our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
- our sex drives
- our sexual identity — the way we feel about our sex, gender, and sexual orientation
The ways we experience and express our sexuality include:
- our body image — how we feel about our bodies
- our desires, thoughts, fantasies, sexual pleasure, sexual preferences, and sexual dysfunction
- our values, attitudes, beliefs, and ideals about life, love, and sexual relationships
- our sexual behaviors — the ways we have sex including masturbation
Our sexuality and the ways we experience and express it are influenced by:
- our biology
- our emotional lives
- our family lives
- our culture and our status in our culture
- our ethical, religious, and spiritual upbringing and experience
Even though we spend our lifetimes as sexual beings, it’s normal to have many questions about sex and sexuality. And this is good because the more we know about sex and sexuality, the better we are able to take charge of our sex lives and our sexual health.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) are caused by sexually transmitted infections. They are passed from one person to another during sexual or intimate contact. More than half of all of us will get a sexually transmitted infection at some time in our lives.
Sexually transmitted infections may or may not cause symptoms. Medically, an infection is called a disease only when it is causing symptoms. But it’s very common for people to use the terms "sexually transmitted diseases" or "STDs," whether or not symptoms are present.
Reading about the different kinds of STIs can be helpful, whether you may have an STI or are just curious about STIs. Follow the link above to find out about each kind of STI.
Most of us want to protect ourselves and each other from STIs. Practicing safer sex allows us to reduce our risk of sexually transmitted infections. And if we’ve done anything that puts us at risk of infection, getting tested allows us to get any treatments we may need.
Some people have basic questions about how pregnancy happens. Some may have questions about avoiding a pregnancy. Others are considering pregnancy and have questions about pre-pregnancy health, or infertility. And some may wonder about options for an unintended pregnancy.
Many women need information about pregnancy tests. Pregnant women may also have questions about prenatal care and the stages of pregnancy. And women who are concerned about pregnancy loss may have lots of questions about miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Only you can decide what is best for you when it comes to pregnancy. The Student Health Center clinicians are available to help. A staff member at your local Planned Parenthood health center can talk with you about all of your pregnancy-related concerns. And we can help you get care that you need.
UCSC Student Health Centerhttp://www2.ucsc.edu/healthcenter/
Planned Parenthood Santa Cruzhttp://www.plannedparenthood.org/mar-monte/santa-cruz-county-7025.htm
Advocates for Youthhttp://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.htm
Established in 1980 as the Center for Population Options, Advocates for Youth champions efforts that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health.
Sexuality and Information Council of the United Stateshttp://www.siecus.org/index.cfm
SIECUS-the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States- was founded in 1964 to provide education and information about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health.
Scarleteen is owned and operated by Heather Corinna and a handful of international volunteers, some who are young adults themselves, and currently serves from 20,000 - 30,000 teens and young adults, as well as parents and educators, every day of the year. While some adults also use Scarleteen to glean sexuality information for themselves, Scarleteen is compiled and written for a young adult population, primarily based in the information that population directly asks us for, and much of our information is more appropriate for teens and young adults than for older adults.
Planned Parenthood TeenTalkhttp://www.plannedparenthood.org/teen-talk/
We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.
For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about sex, health, and family planning.