SSIS advice column

February 7, 2020

Welcome back to the 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 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!)

I like penises but I don’t like men… am I gay?

Thank you for writing to SSIS! There are many types of attractions, including—but not limited to—romantic, sexual and platonic attraction. It is completely possible to be sexually attracted to penises while only platonically attracted to men. Additionally, not all men have penises, and not everyone with a penis identifies as male. 

There are many ways to include a phallus (a penis-like object) during sex, regardless of the gender of your partner(s). One option is to incorporate toys into sex, such as dildos, vibrators or strap-ons. If the aesthetic of a penis is particularly interesting to you, there are many toys that look quite realistic. Otherwise, you can get creative with shapes, colors and sizes. Feel free to stop by our office to browse our options or to get a referral to affordable nearby shops. 

With regard to your sexuality, no one but yourself can answer if you are gay or not. If you have any specific concerns or questions, SSIS members are happy to discuss it further with you during our office hours. We are here to support you as you discover and process your gender, sexuality and orientation, whatever that may be for you! Our office is in SCC 328 and open office hours are 1-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday (closed from 3-4 p.m.), 12-6 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-5 p.m. Fridays when classes are in session. 

How do you ensure confidentiality?

Thanks for your question! SSIS takes confidentiality very seriously, for the comfort of its members as well as the greater Brandeis community. We do not record the names of or any identifying information about the community members who use our services. SSIS members are not even allowed to discuss what happens in the office or at our events amongst each other; only those who are present at the time are privy to any information. SSIS members are not mandated reporters, meaning we are not required to tell the university about anything that happens or is discussed with SSIS.

There are two cases in which SSIS members would be legally obligated to report to the university: abuse against protected groups (such as elderly, children, disabled people) and intent to harm yourself or others. 

Our goal is to make SSIS feel comfortable for all Brandeis members. We are not here to judge, and what is said to any member will not be repeated to anyone. 

If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email or leave a question in the Google Form link.

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