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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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More than just the tip of sexual wellness

UB provides safe sex supplies, PrEP, pregnancy testing and more

Health and Wellness vending machines are available in select locations across campus.
Health and Wellness vending machines are available in select locations across campus.

Want to know what services UB provides for safer sex? Want to know what UB health providers wish more students knew about sexual wellness? 

Read The Spectrum’s comprehensive guide to sex resources and knowledge at UB.

Where to get sex supplies and emergency contraception on campus 

UB’s Health Promotion office operates a program called “UB Covered” that delivers free sexual health supplies to students who live on-campus, according to Marla McBride, the director of Health Promotion. 

Students can request condoms – Trojan ENZ, Lifestyles Original, Lifestyles Ultra Ribbed and Lifestyles Flavored, all latex only — internal condoms, unflavored lubricant, flavored lubricant and dental dams. 

Each week, orders are filled and sent directly to residence halls in discreet packaging. If a student who doesn’t live on campus requests supplies, they can pick it up from Health Promotion’s North Campus office in 114 Student Union from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Personalized packages can be ordered here

Students can also pick up non-personalized packages of supplies from Health Promotion too. Condoms and dental dams can also be found in the Intercultural Diversity Center, and over-the-counter emergency contraception can be purchased in the wellness vending machines in the Student Union, the Ellicott Food Court and South Campus’ Clement Hall.

What is offered at Student Health Services?

Students can receive STI testing through Student Health Services. Appointments are free, but you may be charged for lab work depending on your insurance.

Student Health Services also offers:

  • birth control consultations
  • pregnancy testing and counseling
  • emergency prescriptions for Ella (best for those who weigh over 165 pounds)
  • gender-affirming medical care
  • gynecological appointments
  • HIV PEP and PrEP 
  • HPV and Hepatitis B vaccinations
  • and referrals to specialists. 

UB recently hired a Sexual Health registered nurse and educator, who is expected to start sexual health education on campus in the coming months.

Debunking sexual health myths

UB experts — Health Services Director Susan Synder, senior physician Mary Stock and Paula Taton, a clinic manager at UB Student Health Services — provided The Spectrum with a sex fact sheet.

Myth: Pulling out means you can’t get pregnant.

Truth: The pull-out or withdrawal method can result in pregnancy. If the penis is not pulled out cleanly, and semen comes in contact with the vagina, sperm can enter the vagina and fertilize an egg. The “typical use” failure rate is 20-30%.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex, or by doing it standing up, or by using

douche afterward, or when you’re stoned, or if you’re having your period, or if you have irregular periods, or if you’ve recently had a child, or by doing it in a hot tub… 

Truth: All of these things can result in pregnancy. The only thing that is one-hundred percent foolproof is not having sex. Even while using a condom or birth control, there is still a chance pregnancy can occur. 

Myth: Oral and anal sex are safer than vaginal sex.

Truth: It all depends on what you're trying to stay safe from. If your only concern is having an unplanned pregnancy, then anal and oral sex are safer alternatives. “However, oral and anal sex does not protect against STIs like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and HPV that can be transmitted via oral and anal sex. If you’re having oral, vaginal or anal sex, let your healthcare provider know so they can recommend the most appropriate STI tests. All sexual encounters come with risk, so be as safe as possible,” Snyder, Stock and Taton said in a statement. 

Myth: If you’re horny, then lube isn’t needed.

Truth: Level of arousal doesn’t correlate with vaginal wetness. There are multiple factors that affect one’s level of wetness, including your monthly cycle, pregnancy, illness, menopause and medications. Drinking more water doesn’t help with this either. Synder, Stock and Taton recommend keeping a water-based lubricant handy to make sex more pleasurable. 

Myth: Porn is an accurate, good portrayal of sex. 

Truth: Porn, movies and TV shows are made to provide escapist fantasy. There is a difference between this fantasy and reality.

“Whether it’s awkward, embarrassing, hysterical, disastrous, mediocre or earth-shatteringly fabulous, it’s different every time, with different emotions, experiences and circumstances,” Snyder, Stock and Taton said. 

Myth: Drinking and drugs make sex more fun. 

Truth: Drinking and drugs can cause impotence, premature ejaculation, inability to orgasm and other side effects. Substances can lower inhibitions which means you’re less likely to practice safe sex like using condoms. When you mix sex and substances, people are much more likely to be victims of rape and assault.

Myth: Too much sex makes a vagina loose.

Truth: Vaginas are made to stretch around an entire human and then go back to regular size. You can have sex every day, push multiple humans out, use tampons for every period you have, use sex toys, and your vagina will still be elastic. This myth is based on shaming people with vaginas to not have sex and to not enjoy sex. 

Myth: Uncircumcised penis are unhygienic. 

Truth: This is similar to the myth that public hair is dirty. 

“Our bodies have some remarkable natural cleaning and balancing mechanisms. These are straight-up body shame myths. Penises that still have foreskin are only unclean if their owners aren’t cleaning their genitals — it has nothing to do with the foreskin. Foreskins don’t make a penis more or less sexually sensitive, either,” Synder, Stock and Taton said. 

Myth: Vaginal orgasms are the best and/or only real orgasm. 

Truth: Orgasms are complicated, especially for people with vaginas.  

Bodies are different, and what helps one person orgasm might not work for another — the ability to orgasm may vary based on nerve endings, emotions, state of mind and brain chemicals.

Myth: Sexual orientation and gender are unchangeable. 

Truth: No one gets to decide your sexuality and label you. Allow yourself to figure things out. It’s OK to change throughout your life.

Sarah Owusu is an assistant news editor and can be reached at sarah.owusu@ubspectrum.com  


SARAH OWUSU
sarah-owusu.jpg

Sarah Owusu is an assistant news editor at The Spectrum. In her free time she enjoys reading, baking, music and talking politics (yes, shockingly). She'll also be her own hairdresser when she needs a change. 

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