FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Sexual Health!! Read All About It!

There is a lot of information out there about sex, sexual health and pleasure. But how do you know which resources to trust? Wonder no more! Below is a list of resources that contain excellent, reputable information:

Go Ask Alice!

Go Ask Alice! is a great health resource that is maintained by health educators at Columbia University. The website is set up in a Q & A format and it covers a variety of health topics including emotional health, sexual health and relationships.

Sex Etc.

Sex Etc. is a great website hosted by Rutgers University. All the staff writers for the website are students so it is sex education for students, by students! The website is fun and interactive and once a week, the site hosts chats with a health educator so you can ask questions and get an accurate answers immediately.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has been providing accurate sexual health information for a long time and they are still one of the best resources on the web. Their website has information on just about any sexual health topic you can think of including body image, gender and emergency contraception.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

This website offers a lot of information about sexual health, but they also have a blog and “sexpert” advice. The website has also started building a database to connect young people to services like counselors and clinics. Check it out!

Let’s Talk About “IT”, UNC!

Student Wellness is starting a new program this Spring called “Let’s Talk About It, UNC”, or LTAI UNC (which we’re pronouncing “la-tay UNC”).  LTAI UNC is an awareness campaign LTAIthat strives to encourage dialogue surrounding sexual wellness and connect students to reliable sexual health education and resources. College-aged adults are disproportionately affected by outcomes such as unintended pregnancy and STIs, and these outcomes can go on to impact self-esteem, academic performance, and relationships with peers and partners. Despite the availability of many resources on campuses, misconceptions around sexual health are common and many topics – from keeping relationships healthy, to STI testing, to communicating with partners – remain taboo or uncomfortable to talk about. LTAI UNC is about addressing that. And since April includes both National Public Health Week and STD Prevention Month, what better time is there to get students talking about “it”?

We believe that effective dissemination of reliable information and the degradation of social barriers such as stigma are possible by starting conversations. The idea is that meaningful gains in knowledge, awareness and healthy behavior can start with talking about “it”– with healthcare and wellness providers, friends and partners.

So, what’s “it”?

LTAI UNC focuses on sexual wellness. Specifically, we want to encourage dialogue on the topics that so frequently go unaddressed, oftentimes due to lack of knowledge, embarrassment, stigma, and other barriers. These topics include:

  •          Partnerships
  •          Contraception
  •          Sexual decision-making, including abstinence
  •          Sexual health risk reduction for STIs and pregnancy
  •          Communication

What will LTAI Do?

This month, we’ll be using in-person events and social media to connect students to resources and bust many common sexual health myths. We’ll also be posting sexual wellness themed blogs here at the Healthy Heels blog.

Start Talking

Get into the spirit of LTAI UNC by:

Coming to one of our LTAI events!

  • April 2nd– April 8th, 10AM-2PM: We’ll be tabling in the Union to bust sexual health myths, providing more information on LTAI UNC, offering some awesome giveaways from Student Wellness and the Daily Grind.
  • April 4th, 6-8PM: Let’s Talk Shabbat at UNC Hillel.
  • April 9th, 8-10PM:  Sexual Health Trivia at Steel String Brewery (Must be 21 or older).
  • April 1st through April 30th:  Talk about it, and get entered to win prizes. Re-tweet our posts, or contribute your own with the #LTAIUNC hashtag between April 1st and April 30th, you will be entered into a drawing to win your choice of a FitBit Fit or Chromecast. Only full-time matriculating UNC students are eligible.  If you are a UNC Chapel Hill student and use the C.H.A.T. S. feature between April 1st and April 30th and complete an anonymous evaluation following your chat conversation, you can elect to be entered into a drawing to win your choice of a FitBit Flex or iPod nano. Access C.H.A.T.S.  here!

Check out our resources on talking about sexual wellness:

  • Check out our blog posts about tips on having difficult conversations. There’s one for talking about STI diagnosis, another about talking with partners.
  •  Have a sexual wellness question? Ask a trained Wellness educator by making an appointment by calling 919-962-WELL, or use our confidential health assistance and talk around sexuality (C.H.A.T.S.) program. Bonus! If you use our C.H.A.T. feature this month you can volunteer to be entered to win a prize! Drawing will be {Insert date}.

Let’s start talking! The more we talk, the closer we get to making the UNC campus a healthier, safer place.

How to have a better hookup?

After last semester’s “Orgasm? Yes Please!” performance, we received feedback that you wanted to learn more about communicating about sex during hookups.  In our program, we showed couples in committed relationships working out how to have safer & better sex.  Y’all let us know that you want to see how that works in less committed relationships, too.
What are the difficult conversations with hookups? What do you wish you could express? How could you picture your hookups being safer and sexier? Your questions will help us bring you a fresh, updated OYP in Fall 2013!
Let us know what you think on this anonymous survey.
Stay tuned to the Healthy Heels Blog for information on the upcoming Orgasm? Yes, Please performance! Put it on your calendar: Friday October 25, 2013 7-9pm.

“Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?”

Last semester, I overhead some students talking about how Tori Spelling got pregnant one month after giving birth even though she was breastfeeding. I’ve never really understood breastfeeding-as-contraception, so I did some research about LAM, aka Lactational Amenorrhea Method.

My hope is to provide an overview of LAM to folks who are unfamiliar with this method and blew it off as just another sexual health acronym (IUD, NFP, PID, HIV, HPV, HSV, etc). If you are interested in using this method, please consult your health care provider for more detailed guidance. Check out my last blog entry Are you pregnant or parenting at UNC? for more info on resources available UNC.

What is Lactational Amenorrhea Method? Lactational Amenorrhea Method is a contraception method where a woman relies on exclusive breastfeeding to change her body’s hormonal balance to prevent pregnancy. This method can work up to the first six months of the infant’s life, which is also the duration for which the WHO and American Academy of Pediatricians recommends exclusive breastfeeding.

How does LAM work? Time to get your Anatomy & Physiology extra credit! Continue reading

Are you pregnant or parenting at UNC?

What an impressive juggling act! Hats off to you. You’re doing important work!

Let me tell you about a few of the resources available for you locally:

UNC Student Parent Association
UNC Parenting Resource Guide is a great way to get oriented about services available to you through UNC and in the community at large.
List of lactation spaces on UNC Campus
La Leche League of Chapel Hill is a group where experienced mothers support women who are figuring breastfeeding out.

Personally, I didn’t really know much about breastfeeding until I trained as a doula (a doula stays with a laboring woman, not as part of the healthcare team, but as an attendant who provides emotional, physical & informational support). I was blown away when I learned about the emotional, nutritional, and health benefits for women & children that come through breastfeeding.
• The physical contact helps women and babies bond.
• The baby receives IgA antibodies through the mother’s breast milk that provide a natural passive immunity while the baby’s own immune system gets up & running.
• Babies instinctively drink the right quantity of breast milk, so they reduce their risk of over-nourishment.
• When babies latch on to the nipple, breast milk goes right down their throats without lingering in the mouth so the risk of dental cavities is reduced.
• Breastfeeding helps women lose weight after pregnancy and reduces risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Even if you aren’t thinking about having kids right now, it’s valuable for everyone to understand breastfeeding and benefits in order to be more supportive of nursing women. Breastfeeding can be challenging; many women have a difficult time with various parts of breastfeeding including latching, production, emotions, balance, and more. In other words, nursing women need all the support they can get!

FYI, in North Carolina it’s legal for a woman to breastfeeding in any public or private location without being in violation of indecent exposure laws. On top of that legal foundation, I hope we can have a culture on campus where all nursing Tarheels feel comfortable and respected breastfeeding their children.

Stay tuned for more! My next project is to examine a birth control method I’ve never understood: LAM, aka Lactational Amenorrhea Method, aka breastfeeding-as-contraception.

How do you remember?

Writing it on your hand.  Making a Google task.  Asking your roommate or partner to remind you.

What do you think these things are trying to help someone remember to do?

Prevent pregnancy, of course!

These are just some of the many ways that I’ve heard women use to try and remember to take their birth control pill daily, change their patch weekly, or replace their ring monthly.  Considering that the last big study of pregnancy showed that about 50% of pregnancies in the United States were unintended, many of these methods might not be working so well.  Luckily there are some new ways to reliably remind you or your partner about their birth control and even doctors appointments.

Continue reading

What Goldilocks and Condoms Have in Common

This week, I thought I would take some inspiration from Laetitia’s latest slippery exploration of the world of lubes and take you on a tour of their faithful companions – condoms! Luckily, condom technology has come a long way since the likes of these examples from the 16th a through the 18th centuries.

Condoms were originally made from animal by-products, like intestinal products.  YUCK!  Eventually, vulcanized rubber  (Thank you Mr.Goodyear) hit the scene and ever since, the majority of condoms have been made of rubber-based materials. These days condom options are nearly endless and can range from the mundane to just plain bizarre.  Like choosing lube, figuring out what is right for you and your partner can be downright daunting, so here are a few important points to consider. Continue reading

Fertility uncertainty: risk of unplanned pregnancy?

Allow me to set the record straight — if pregnancy does not result from an incident of unprotected sex, it does not mean that you are unable to get pregnant. A recent survey found that 19% of women and 14% of men believe that they are infertile, when in fact national estimates indicate that less than 10% of individuals are experiencing fertility problems. I’m not suggesting that concerns about infertility are invalid or not important. It would be a downright heartbreaking experience, no doubt. All I’m trying to say is that there is a tendency to underestimate the likelihood of pregnancy from unprotected sex, which can lead to the idea that contraception is not necessary. I’m assuming that for most of us the baby plan is on hold, so I’m going to exploit the old cliché better be safe than sorry! Continue reading