When I arrived at work a couple weeks ago, my email inbox was inundated with emails about the most recent Sex on Tuesday column, titled “Sober isn’t always better.” My initial reaction was, “I don’t understand why people even continue to read this column” — I sure don’t waste my time reading it anymore. This is rather weird, considering my position as the staff coordinator for the Sexual Health Education Program. Honestly, I learned a long time ago that reading this particular column — regardless of who the columnist is — is simply upsetting to me for several reasons that will take more time than I am willing or interested in exerting currently.
However, because of the fact that I did receive so many emails about this last article, I felt compelled to read it. I finally got around to reading the article on my lunch break today. Just as I thought, this article upset me just as much as the last article I read a year or so ago.
Instead of attacking the content of the article or the author, I’d like to extend an offer to the current columnist to contact me, as I am more than happy to discuss safer ways to engage in any consensual sexual behaviors.
However, before I do that I am bound by personal and professional ethics to inform you that per California Penal Code 261PC, it is considered a form of rape to engage in sexual behavior with anyone incapable of giving consent due to being under the influence of any mind-altering substances or chemicals, including alcohol.
For those who feel you MUST have a drink to have sex or be intimate, consider visiting Counseling and Psychological Services at the Tang Center. Tobirus Newby is great with helping people understand the intersection of sexual, mental and emotional health.
Such an understanding may well lead to more experiences of satisfaction and liberation, as your sex life will more accurately reflect your wants and desires.
While I do not condone sex under the influence of alcohol, I am aware that it happens. For those who enjoy sex under the influence yet also have the communication tools and skills to have pleasurable, maybe even “adventurous,” sex without the use of alcohol, this part is for you. In no way am I suggesting that anyone engage in sex under the influence, but if you’re going to do it anyway, here are some tips on how to do it safely: Tip 1: Practice using safer sex methods while under the influence. The best way to do this is to get a group of like-minded friends together and have a safer sex practice party. Sounds strange, I know.
However, as suggested in the SHEP blog article “One Drunken Night,” “nothing can beat hands-on experience without the hands-on negative consequences.” Tip 2: Obtain or give consent prior to drinking any amount of alcohol or taking any substances. If you know that you’re going to a party and want to let off sexual steam, let a potential sex partner know in advance. This works best if you know who you’d like to hook up with after you’re sufficiently inebriated.
Tip 3: Be prepared at all times. You should be carrying safer sex methods with you anytime there may be a chance — even the slightest — that you may get lucky and get some. Suggested safer sex methods to carry with you include traditional and/or insertive condoms as well as dental dams. If you don’t need the supplies, maybe a friend will.
In conclusion, dear columnist, while I understand the need to write something catchy, it would be great if your articles promoted safer sex practices. If you, or anyone else, would like to discuss ways to have a more fun and safe and healthy sex life, I am more than happy to meet with you at your convenience.
Robin Mills is the SHEP staff coordinator.
A previous version of this op-ed incorrectly stated that the author read a Sex on Tuesday article “today.” In fact, she read the article before the op-ed was published.