The Daily Gamecock

Project Condom encourages communication

<p>Project Condom gives students a chance to ask candid questions about sex and get substantive answers.</p>
Project Condom gives students a chance to ask candid questions about sex and get substantive answers.

Student Health Services' Project Condom used condom races, condom outfits and a "Chat Before You Chill" question panel to spread information about sexual topics on Saturday.

While most of the event was dedicated to a question panel of "sexperts," the event also included a fashion show of condom outfits, a race to see which volunteer could put on a condom properly the quickest and several demonstrations on how to use female condoms.

The panel was made up of Frank W. Anderson, pastor at Lutheran Campus Ministries; Sarah Wright, a counselor and sex therapist at USC's Counseling and Psychiatry Center; Quinyana Brown, a graduate student who frequently works in sex-related topics; and Shannon Nix, associate director of Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention and Prevention.

Members of the audience submitted questions anonymously, and the "sexperts" took turns reading questions aloud and giving their answers.

What are symptoms of HIV?

Anderson: Generally speaking, it’s not 100 percent noticeable, but about six to eight weeks after transmission, you will have flu-like or cold-like symptoms, possibly, possibly not. You may not even notice them, but that really is the only way that anybody knows that they might have gotten an HIV infection ... The only way to know for sure if you’re HIV positive is to be tested.

Does birth control protect against STDs?

Anderson: Depends on what birth control you’re using ... Basically anything that’s a barrier method will protect you from STDs. But keep in mind, even with barrier methods, there are STDs that are virulent and sometimes not detected when you’re involved in the sexual act.

From the intimidated boyfriend: I’ve tried to have sex with my significant other multiple times, but because she’s a virgin and complains of low pain tolerance, it’s difficult for us to physically complete the act of penetration. Suggestions?

Wright: Sexual pain is actually really, really common in women. Partly it’s because when we get nervous, one of the things we do is what? We tense up … We don’t have this external cue that men have, and so with foreplay, a lot of times, women need a good 15 to 20 minutes before they are physiologically ready for sex. So that’s one of the things that lube can do, but I think another big part of it is just the mental anticipation.

The more relaxed I am, the more aroused I’m going to get, and the more able I would be for penetration. So I think the other thing, too, is to be sure you’re both ready for penetration. If she’s not ready, and she’s thinking, ‘Well, he really wants to and if I don’t, then —,’ that sentence shouldn’t be able to be finished. If I don’t, then we don’t, and we actually do just watch Netflix and chill.

So it takes a little bit of practice, it takes a little time, it takes a little patience. Make sure you’re both ready, and talk the whole time.

Can condoms ever be used to improve sex?

Brown: I would say without a doubt, yes ... There's different materials. There's different textures. There's ribbed, there's studded, so you definitely have a lot of options in regards to that, and they can definitely be used to improve the sexual act.

If me and my partner have sex all the time, how do I tell my partner I don't want it tonight?

Nix: It's pretty simple, and it's not at the same time, right? ... In order for sex to be great and awesome, and that's what I want it to be for whoever's having it with whomever, you have to talk. You have to have communication ... That's going to make it even better. And I want you to be having these conversations before you even start having sex and going down that road. That's just so important.

Wright: One of the things I think about when couples say, "I don't want sex tonight," is then they assume we could do nothing. I don't feel like having sex, therefore don't touch me and stay 3 feet away. Well, that's not very good either, right? If you're wanting to be intimate, you want to be close, so it's like couples don't really get creative about what else can we do ... It doesn't have to be all or nothing."

How kinky is too kinky?

Anderson: First of all, nothing is too kinky if you both agree to it and it's been communicated ... Kinky is really a matter of what you bring into the relationship and both people are communicating and looking at what that pleasure point is for them in terms of the sexual connection, then kinky takes on a whole different definition.

Sometimes I last too long, other times seemingly not long enough. What gives?

Wright: Part of it is practice and knowing your body and knowing also that muscular control ... For guys, if you learn to control them, when you tighten those muscles, it will actually back up your ejaculate, and it gives you more control over orgasm ... For a guy who thinks he's lasted too long, one really basic question of how long is too long, because that's really a partner question.

What's your go-to sex tip?

Brown: My sex tip would be do you ... When it comes to sex, when you allow others to kind of determine what you do, what you desire, what you think is acceptable, it really kills it.