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Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘Sexcessful’ tips from UC Davis’ Love Lab

Sexual Well-being Student Coordinator Tristan Fernandez-Acosta speaks on the often unasked questions about students’ sex lives

 

By FAITH DEMEULENAERE — features@theaggie.org 

 

Not many students are aware of The Love Lab, which is, according to their website, “a mobile cart stocked with external condoms, internal condoms, dental dams, water-based lubricant and silicone-based lubricant available to UC Davis students at no charge. It also provides pads and tampons, in addition to educational materials, buttons, and stickers.” 

Tristan Fernandez-Acosta, a second-year psychology major and the sexual well-being student coordinator for The Love Lab, commented on the mission led by Davis’ Love Lab to break the stigma around sex and foster open conversations.

“What turns sex into a taboo would be the negative stigma around it for generations from society as a whole, family, cultural and religious beliefs,” Fernandez-Acosta said. “Family is the first influence anyone has, and oftentimes sex isn’t talked about in households, which reinforces the idea that sex is bad or wrong to talk about, along with the societal influence that speaking out about sex is ‘inappropriate.’”

As a society, we must accept that sex is a normal, natural part of life, according to Fernandez-Acosta. Some schools even go as far as to support the idea that sex is taboo when teaching sex education to their students by providing little to no real information. 

“The only real solution is to support people who have questions, thoughts or concerns about sex rather than putting them down for not knowing when some are just seeking answers they never got and are curious,” Fernandez-Acosta said. “Extensive and inclusive sex education in schools would definitely make an impact, but the support also needs to come from parents, peers and slowly erasing the reputation society has given sex.”

The Love Lab provides educational workshops, demonstrations, free safe sex products and resources for STI testing and gender care. All of these things and more are provided at the Cowell Building.

Nina Finsch, a first-year undeclared major, like many other first-year students, had previously not heard of The Love Lab. 

“I’d have to check that out, it seems like a cool option for students,” Finsch said.

When it comes to discussing the topic of sex, many shy away. However, Fernandez-Acosta advises against that.

“[Though] it may be a tough topic, [try to] be aware of your sex partners’ previous and current sex partners in regards to preventing STIs and just being informed,” Fernandez-Acosta said. “Don’t feel afraid to talk with your partner about what is and isn’t okay for you during sex — discussing what feels best for each party can help with navigating your first couple experiences.”

The Love Lab wants students to remember that sex doesn’t have to be a scary thing — it’s not wrong, and “it’s completely normal to be nervous or to have doubts due to prior experiences and [lack of] information,” Fernandez-Acosta said.

Sophie Muñoz, a third-year biology major, discussed the negative effects of stigmatizing one of the common aspects of a college student’s life.

“There is a lot of stigma around the sex lives of college students,” Muñoz said. “It’s hard to find [one’s] self-identification in it.”

If anyone is experiencing any sort of trouble with sexual experiences, The Love Lab’s Instagram direct messages are always open for support. Additionally, the Gender Care Team can always guide Aggies in the right direction.

 

Written By: Faith DeMeulenaere — features@theaggie.org

 

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