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SSIS advice column

Welcome back to the Student Sexuality 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 the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: There are no bad, stupid or weird questions! 

(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!)

I came to your event last week, and I liked it a lot, but I was hoping it would have more information about how to be safe if you meet someone from an online dating app IRL. Do you have any advice about that?

Thank you so much for attending our event! As with all things in life, meeting someone from an online dating app has risks. There are some ways to reduce those risks, such as having a neutral meeting location and checking in with a friend. Choosing a neutral public place to meet, such as a nearby coffee shop or museum, protects your privacy and safety. Meeting at one of your homes or traveling together can make it harder to leave on your own terms. Traveling separately ensures that you can leave when you’re ready and the other person does not have too much of your personal information (such as where you live). Public places are often favorable also because they will likely have other people nearby, should you need help.

Before going on the date, it may be wise to tell a friend or two where you are going and plan to follow up afterward. Setting a time for your friend to check in on you can reduce stress. One of the most important things is to trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, it likely is. If at any point you want to leave, you reserve that right. Above all else, remember that you are never responsible for predatory or disrespectful behavior of others. 

I saw a Facebook event for something SSIS is putting on about sex and disabilities, could you tell me more about what to expect from it?

Yes! SSIS is putting on an event on Nov. 14 from 7-9 p.m. called Being Sexual with a Disability. In general, SSIS feels that the disability community is often forgotten about in sexual education, and so our hope with this workshop is to provide the Brandeis community some basic ideas of how to adapt sexual activity to be more inclusive. We hope this will also open up greater conversations around this topic in general. We want Brandeis students with disabilities to know that they should be just as included as anyone else in conversations around sexuality, sexual health and pleasure. That being said, we recognize that there are many barriers around accessibility and societal willingness to address these issues and that it might be hard for students to make the leap to access these resources without being explicitly welcomed. So, we are explicitly welcoming!

At our event, we are lucky enough to be bringing in a speaker named Kirsten Schulz, who is a sex educator and disability advocate working for an amazing organization called Chronic Sex. During the first hour or so of our workshop, Kirsten will be presenting on a range of topics such as the emotional and physical effects of chronic illness or disability, particularly in regards to sex and sexuality. She will outline solutions and resources for some of these barriers and answer any anonymous questions attendees might have. 

After the presentation, SSIS members will be leading small workshops on the following three topics: being sexual and sensory sensitive, being sexual with mobility limitations and what non-verbal communication and consent looks like in a sexual context. We will cover both masturbation and sex with a partner or partners, as well as just general resources. 

Feel free to join our Facebook event and contact us with any further questions, concerns or suggestions about this event or others!

What kind of products do you sell at SSIS?

We sell a wide variety of products ranging from menstrual products to barrier methods to toys! Three types of menstrual cups are sold in our office, along with pads and tampons. We also sell pregnancy tests for only 50 cents each! Our barrier methods include many types of external condoms, internal condoms, dental dams, gloves and finger cots. Barrier methods are useful for protecting your body from STIs. Most of our condoms are pre-lubricated with silicone lube, and we also sell bottles and packets of silicone, water and hybrid lubes. Some are even flavored or change temperature upon use!

For personal pleasure, we sell kegel balls, masturbatory cream, masturbatory sleeves, vibrators, dildos and butt plugs. For more information about specific products that we sell, stop by our office in room 328 in the SCC.

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