To acquire wisdom, one must observe

SSIS advice column

Welcome back to the Student Sexual Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@brandeis.edu or leave a question in the Google Form link on our Facebook page. (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)

  • My boyfriend and I both have doubles. My roommate has no respect for our intimate life and waltzes into the room in the middle of us hooking up and just sits there. Is it OK that I’m into this?

Thank you for submitting your question! It is definitely OK to be into your roommate being there while you hook up with your boyfriend. Being watched while hooking up is a fairly common desire and is often referred to colloquially as “exhibitionism.” Exhibitionism can include being watched during sexual activity, performing sexual acts in public or semi-public locations, and more. It is perfectly healthy and OK to be an exhibitionist or to simply enjoy being watched (Note: The clinical definition of exhibitionism is different and is not being discussed in this answer). If you’re curious about clinical exhibitionism or want to learn more, feel free to visit SSIS during our office hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays!

That being said, it may be worthwhile to have conversations with your roommate and with your boyfriend about this. It is important to consider both people’s comfort with the situation. Your boyfriend may share the same desire as you to be watched, but it’s always important to ask! Additionally, if you feel that your roommate is not respecting your intimate life, that may warrant a longer conversation, even if you are ultimately into them watching.

Hope this helps! Best of luck on this adventure.

  • What do I need to know about having sex for the first time? I’m also curious about anything related to pregnancy prevention; what are some of the recommended ways?

Great question! Having sex for the first time can be exciting, and there are some common concerns that people have leading up to having sex for the first time. First of all, it may be worthwhile to ask yourself some of the following questions: Why do I want to have sex? Do I trust my partner? Have I communicated about having sex for the first time with my partner? Do I feel ready to embrace this new experience? The answers to these questions may help you feel more comfortable when having sex for the first time.

Physically, one common concern is that sex for the first time will hurt. This can be true, but it isn’t always the case. Some ways to prevent pain and soreness include lube and foreplay. Foreplay can help reduce the risk of discomfort during sex by helping your body relax and get ready for sex. Foreplay can include talking, hugging, kissing and other sexual acts. Adding lube can also help by reducing any unwanted kind of friction, and thus reducing the risk of soreness on a shaft, vaginal walls or anus. Even when lube is used and there is foreplay, sex for the first time can hurt, and that can be normal. If sex continues to hurt, please consult a medical professional.

You may have heard the term “popping the cherry,” which refers to vulva-owners stretching the hymen. The hymen is a piece of thin tissue that partially covers the vaginal opening. While it may stretch during vaginal stimulation, it is a myth that it will “break” or “tear.” Additionally, many vulva-owners’ hymens stretch or dissolve from non-sexual activity, such as riding a bike, or even just walking.

It’s great that you’re also thinking about pregnancy prevention! A common myth is that pregnancy cannot occur from sexual acts that aren’t penis-in-vagina sex or the first time someone has penis-in-vagina sex, but in actuality, pregnancy can occur any time that semen (or cum) enters the vaginal canal. For instance, pregnancy can occur during oral or anal sex, if semen comes into contact with the vaginal canal.

Some recommended ways of preventing pregnancy include condoms or other barrier methods, birth control pills, IUDs, the patch, the shot… there are many methods of preventing pregnancy! Condoms are one simple way to prevent pregnancy, and you can get 10 for $1 at SSIS. SSIS carries twenty types of condoms, and our peer educators are more than happy to help you figure out what brand might work best for you. Condoms and barrier methods work by physically blocking sexual fluids from mixing. For information on how to properly use a condom (or other barrier methods) feel free to come in during our office hours or text us! The other forms of birth control mentioned above are hormonal, which means that a doctor or nurse practitioner has to prescribe them. For more info about hormonal birth control methods, feel free to stop by our office or make an appointment at the health center.

We hope this helps! If you have follow up questions or concerns, feel free to submit them to this column, text us at 586-ASK-SSIS, or ask our peer educators during office hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays)!

If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@brandeis.edu or leave a question in the Google Form link on our Facebook page.

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