UNC Students Support Condom Dispensers

This week, UNC Student Wellness will install free condom dispensers in 10 restrooms throughout the Carolina Union and Campus Recreation!

UNC students have shown overwhelming support for the installation of the condom dispensers. Last Friday, the student group SASH (Student Advocates for Sexual Health) sponsored a photo campaign allowing students to make their voices heard in support of the dispensers. Check out the slide show below:

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Consistent, correct condom use affords protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI), and is a critical component of STI risk reduction and pregnancy prevention strategies. During the 2011-2012 academic year, more than 18,000 condoms were provided (free of charge) to UNC students; however, condom use among students remains low. In a 2011 survey of UNC students, 79% of students reported having vaginal sex in the last year. However, only 44% report using a condom for vaginal intercourse; additionally, only 25% reported condom use for anal intercourse, and 3% for oral sex. Various barriers to condom use have been documented, including cost and availability.

Research on condom provision programs shows that access to safer sex supplies does not encourage earlier or increased sexual activity. In fact, there is evidence that provision of safer sex supplies delays age at first sex, and increases the proportion of protected sex acts without increasing the frequency of sex. One UNC Resident Advisor reacted to the condom dispensers saying, “I think it would allow people to access the supplies without having to ‘be seen’ by a staff member or fellow student. You could see an increase in the safe sex on campus.”

This initiative to increase access to and affordability of safer sex supplies is a collaborative project between UNC Student Wellness, Campus Recreation, the Carolina Union, and the UNC Center for AIDS Research.

What do you think about the condom dispensers? Make your voice heard by leaving a reply below, or on the Student Wellness Facebook page or Twitter!

Videos about condoms.

con-dom-ol’-o-gy n. the study of condoms; a collection of fact-based resources in simple, easy-to-understand language.

Using a condom is simple, right?  Check out this hilarious video to make sure you have all the facts and get a good laugh at the same time.


Can’t get enough condom facts?  Click here to learn how they’re made.  Disclaimer: The host is a little goofy, but the video is still cool!

All this sweet info is courtesy of the American Social Health Association.  Give them a click. . .


8 Quick Tips to Beat the Afternoon Slump

You know what it’s like: you wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed (kinda), head to your morning class, have lunch with friends, head home with every intention of getting some work done, and then. . . BAM!  Two o’clock hits and your eyelids are drooping and all you wanna do is take a nap.

You’re not alone!  It’s completely normal to feel tired in the afternoon.  Circadian rhythms, which affect your sleep patterns, may be to blame for the midday-slump.  In fact, your “sleep signals” peak at night and during the afternoon (right around 2pm!), which may explain why you want to grab an afternoon cat nap.  Other factors, like what you eat, hydration levels, and how much time you spend staring at a screen can also affect those tired eyes.

So what’s a busy college student to do?  Here are some quick tips to keep you going strong:

  • Work out.  A midday trip to the gym may not only boost your productivity; it could ward off sleepiness, too. Stick to some light aerobic exercise before getting back to the books.
  • Stretch it out.  A quick stretching session can provide a boost of energy.
  • Move around.  A change of scenery may boost productivity, so do some work at a coffee shop.  Snag a table near a window for some natural light, which may keep you more alert.
  • Sip some green tea. With less caffeine than a cup of coffee, a mug of green tea can give you that afternoon pick-me-up without keeping you up all night.
  • Have a snack.  Not meal time yet? Have a healthy snack to help boost your energy level. Try an ounce of cheese, a handful of nuts, or another high-protein snack to keep alert.
  • Switch tasks.  Working on the same project for five hours? Try tackling something else to stay stimulated and keep yourself fresh.
  • Take a break.  Tired? Take five to do something besides work (like checking Facebook or calling a friend) to give your body and mind a break!
  • Turn up the tunes.  Listening to your favorite music might help you focus and feel more energized.  Listen with headphones to really hone in on a task and side-step sleepiness.

Adapted from one of my favorite health blogs: greatist.com.  Check it out!

Probiotics: A User’s Guide

How Probiotics Work

Thinking about taking a probiotic?  You may have seen them at the pharmacy, listened to a friend wax poetic about how probiotics changed her life, or watched Jamie Lee Curtis sing their praises in Activia commercials.  So, let’s learn a little more about them.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (e.g., bacteria), similar to the beneficial bacteria found naturally in the human gut, and may be beneficial to health.  In the United States, probiotics are available as dietary supplements (including capsules, tablets, and powders) and in dairy foods (such as yogurts with live active cultures).  They’re often used for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions including infectious diarrhea, diarrhea associated with using antibiotics, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease).

Probiotics may improve your health by:

  • Altering the intestinal “microecology” (e.g., reducing harmful organisms in the intestine)
  • Producing antimicrobial compounds (substances that destroy or suppress the growth of microorganisms)
  • Stimulating the body’s immune response


Sounds good, right?  Here’s the major caveat: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any health claims for probiotics.  Although some probiotic formulations have shown promise in research, strong scientific evidence to support their use is lacking.  (But keep your eyes peeled, because many more studies are under way!)

However, it appears that most people can use probiotics without experiencing any side effects.  If you’re thinking about using a probiotic dietary supplement, you should definitely consult your health care provider first.  Probiotics should not be used in place of conventional medical care or to delay seeking care if you are experiencing symptoms that concern you.

Choosing a Probiotic

Different probiotic products contain different types and numbers of probiotic bacteria.  Different types of probiotic bacteria may have different effects on your body, and the effects may vary from person to person.  With that said, the best place to begin evaluating a probiotic food or supplement is its label.  It should include:

  • The specific genus and species of the probiotic organism or organisms it contains
  • The number of organisms contained in a single dose and how often you should take it (effective doses range widely, from as few as 50 million live cells for some organisms to as many as 1 trillion cells per dose for others)
  • Recommended uses, based on scientific studies
  • Storage information (some forms need to be refrigerated, others have been processed to remain viable at room temperature)
  • Contact information for the company

When all else fails, ask your health care provider or a pharmacist!

Bottom line. . . to probiotic or not to probiotic?  At this point, I’d say it’s up to you.  The research suggests that they’re fairly low risk and may benefit your health.  If you’re interested and you’ve received approval from your physician, give them a try.  (And report back, please!)

So, what do you think?  Have you tried probiotics?  What did you think?

For Giggles

As “Jamie Lee Curtis” shows us in this SNL spoof. . . everything in moderation!





What’s the Buzz on Vibrators?

. . . and where you can get one!

Hysteria and Prescription Vibrators: A Brief History

ImageSince at least the fourth century B.C. until the American Psychiatric Association dropped the term in 1952, women were commonly treated by physicians for an ailment called “hysteria.”  Considered chronic in women, symptoms included fatigue, anxiety, headache, neuralgia and depressed mood.

[Side note: The word “hysteria” comes from a Greek word meaning, “that which comes from the uterus.”  Interesting, considering current popular meanings of the word include, “upset to the point or irrationality” when applied to a person, and “very funny” when applied to a situation.]

The standard treatment?  Genital massage to orgasm.

There’s no evidence that physicians enjoyed or showed any enthusiasm for treating hysteria in their female patients.  In fact, they most likely considered it a tedious, difficult, and time-consuming chore.  Enter the vibrator!  The vibrator emerged as a medical instrument at the end of the 19th century in response to demand from physicians for more rapid and efficient therapies, particularly for hysteria.  The new device reduced the time it took physicians to produce results from up to an hour to about ten minutes.

Rachel P. Maines, author of the book, “The Technology of Orgasm: ‘Hysteria,’ the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction,” cites two main sources of demand for treatment:  the predominant view of female masturbation as unchaste and possible unhealthful, and the failure of male partners to produce orgasm regularly in most women.  This isn’t a slam on you undoubtedly talented partners out there, but a comment on the historically dominant model of healthy, “normal” heterosexuality as penetration of the vagina by the penis to male orgasm.  However, this method fails to consistently produce orgasm in more than half of the female population.  Hysteria, indeed!

Stay-at-Home Vibrators

ImageIn the early 20th century, doctors faced competition from beauty parlors, which began offering vibrator treatments to their female customers.  With the introduction of electric lights in the home in 1876, women were recognized as significant consumers of electrical appliances.  The first home appliance to be electrified was the sewing machine, followed soon after by the fan, teakettle, toaster, and – that’s right – the vibrator.  The earliest known advertisement for a home vibrator is for the “Vibratile.”  Featured in McClure’s magazine in 1899, the Vibratile was offered as a cure for “neuralgia, headache, and wrinkles.”  As the vibrator evolved to become a relatively lightweight and inexpensive device that could be operated in the home, it effectively transitioned from medical device to a “personal care appliance.”

Vibrators Today

ImageFast forward more than a hundred years, and more than 52% of women have reported vibrator use, according to a nationally representative study by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University.  Now you’ll find inexpensive vibrators advertised on MTV and boldly displayed at Duane Reade, Walgreens and other mainstream drugstores, mere steps from the Bengay and Dr. Scholl’s.  At the other end of the spectrum, sex toy manufacturer, Lelo, offers a top of the line vibrator, which for $15,000 offers a “virtually silent” engine, according to the company, and either an 18-karat gold-plated or stainless steel finish.

Vibrators can be used to stimulate not only the female genitals, but many sensitive and pleasurable parts of female and male bodies.  (They work the very best with lots of lube – for more information on which to pick, check out our lube blog post.)  So where can you get in on the action?  We’re raffling off vibrators, books, and other sexy toys at tomorrow night’s event, “Orgasm?  Yes, Please!” sponsored by Counseling and Wellness, along with UNC’s own Project Dinah and UNC Panhellenic Council.  It’s a fun, free event focusing on the best part of sex: pleasure.  But pick up your tickets fast!  Less than 100 remain at the Union Box Office.

Orgasm? Yes Please!
Friday, September 21, 7-9pm
Union Great Hall