Thursday, February 28, 2008

My new girlfriend wants me to make sure I'm clean before we have sex, how do I do that at Dartmouth?

I've had a few hook-ups since fall term, and I'm sure I don't have any std's or anything. But my new girlfriend wants me to make sure I'm clean before we have sex, how do I do that at Dartmouth?

Sexperts definitely thinks it's a good idea for partners to encourage each other to get STI testing before becoming sexually active with each other. While you did not specify exactly what "hook-up" means (and whether or not that involved safer sex practices), it is always good practice that everyone (everyone!) who has had unprotected sex get tested for infections appropriate to their exposure. (Because early testing = early treatment and safer/healthier decision-making for the future).

So far as getting testing a Dartmouth, you can sign onto BannerStudent and click on "making an appointment at Dick's House" or call during business hours at 603-646-9401 to schedule a time to get testing done.

There are few things to keep in mind:
-Don't pee less than an hour before your appointment!
-Testing should be scheduled more than 3 weeks after your last unprotected sexual experience to ensure that all the STIs to be screened are detectable
-You can choose your screening provider's gender by requesting either male or female when making your appointment
-Results from your STI test can take up to two weeks
-There are no HPV tests available for men- your girlfriend should have an annual exam to test for HPV
-Screening will involve urine and/or blood collection, depending on what is being tested
-You should expect to be asked about your sexual history to assess what tests are appropriate and what you may have been exposed to
-You may bring your partner to the appointment if you are comfortable and would like to do that

If you are an undergraduate student, testing is covered. However, if you are not currently enrolled and taking classes this term, you should call the Appointments Office to find out whether there would be any charges associated with your appointment and for what health services you are eligible during your term off.

If you prefer not to utilize Dick's House for STI testing, there are also two great, local resources:

Planned Parenthood in West Lebanon: 603-298-7766
ACORN in Lebanon (offers HIV and Hepatitis C Testing): 603-448-8887

Hope this covers what you had in mind!


Monday, February 25, 2008

Any tips for how my partner and I can make an orgasm happen for me!?

I've been sexually active with my boyfriend for over six months now, but I have never had an orgasm. Any tips for how my partner and I can make an orgasm happen for me!?

The first distinction to make is whether you haven't had an orgasm with your boyfriend or you haven't had an orgasm during any sort of sexual activity or exploration. If you don't think you've ever experienced an orgasm, our best advice is to explore yourself! People, especially women, who know their bodies and have been successful with masturbation generally have the upper hand when it cums (haha!) to sexual endeavors with partners. Explore what feels good for you- whether it's using your fingers, sex toys, lubricant, your pillows! Set some time aside, maybe even set a sensual mood (incense?), and get it on with yourself.

Now, if you can orgasm while masturbating or have orgasmed with other partners in the past, the question is whether you and your boyfriend only have vaginal intercourse. If so, it's important to know that it's estimated that only 30% of women (Whoops, we're assuming you're a self-identifying female! The above paragraph is gender neutral) are capable of orgasming from penile-vaginal intercourse on its own. Your clitoris is likely only indirectly being stimulated- and many women need direct stimulation before and/or during intercourse.

Try having your boyfriend stimulate your clitoris and vulva with his hand, his lips, his tongue...Try different positions to help put pressure on your clitoris during intercourse (check out for a variety of positions)...Maybe more foreplay will help, as well! Spend more time caressing, kissing, massaging each other before penetration- read literotica together!

Overall the key to orgasming for you may be found in exploring the ins and outs of your own sexual preferences through solitary sexual activity- the better you know yourself and your body, the better the sexperience between you and your boyfriend.

If you want to read more, check out "Guide to Getting It On" in the Baker-Berry Library!
Good Luck

<3, Sexperts

Friday, February 8, 2008

How much masturbation is too much? Does masturbation count as a sex life?

The frequency of masturbation is really a matter of personal preference. Some people choose not to masturbate, some try it out a few times, and some do it a few times everyday. So long as masturbation does not substitute for necessities like eating, sleeping or socializing, enjoy yourself!

Many people are concerned that there are serious side effects of masturbation. We'd like to share a comment posted on by a very articulate reader,

"I see many questions from young folks who are concerned about masturbation and wonder if it is harmful. I am seventy years old and have masturbated at least once, sometimes two or three times a day, for most of my life, since I was about ten years old. I still do it. I am healthy, happy, have several grown children and grandchildren. Masturbation has been a constant, welcome, warm, and healthful companion. My advice? Enjoy it, and let your body be your guide."

If you are concerned about your frequency of masturbation, please speak with your physician who can discuss the matter from a more medical perspective with confidentiality.

So far as whether or not masturbation counts as a sex life, it could be argued that you are sexually active with your own body. Again, the boundaries of "sexual activity" are blurred and primarily pertain to levels of personal comfort.

Monday, February 4, 2008

How do I get the morning after pill?

The morning after pill, or emergency contraception is available, often as "Plan B," over the counter at pharmacies to people over the age of 18. While the FDA approved the progestin-only Plan B almost two years ago for over the counter use, it is still sometimes difficult to obtain because pharmacists retain the right to refuse its sale. Your options for obtaining it are:
1- Plan B is available at Dick's House to anyone over the age of 18. The pharmacy is now dispensing it without a prescription during business hours (Mon- Fri, 9am - 5pm). When the Pharmacy is closed students can contact the inpatient department at (6-9401) when classes are in session (excluding summer term) to speak with a nurse who will facilitate access to Plan B. The price is $29.00 as it is not processed as a prescription through the pharmacy.
Other thoughts on the availability/cost of Plan B for Dartmouth Students: If a student has the Dartmouth Student Health Insurance (DSGHP) AND a prescription, the cost is covered in full if the prescription is filled at Dick's house. They would pay 20% (around $10.00) if filled at any other pharmacy. Because Plan B is an "over-the-counter medication", most other insurances do not cover Plan B.

2- Planned Parenthood presents a very economical option, with a sliding scale, to anyone who requests emergency contraception during business hours (their phone #: 603-298-7766).

3- CVS in Hanover currently sells it, when a pharmacist is on duty (between 8am-8pm except Sundays), to people with a government issued ID for about $45.

A dose of emergency contraception can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse, regardless of the number of times unprotected intercourse occurs in one night (one encounter/episode). It is important to note that the sooner emergency contraception is taken after unprotected sex, the greater the efficacy of the pill. A progestin-only emergency conception pill is about 89% effective within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. Plan B, the most common form of emergency contraception, is progestin only and has very limited side effects. Side effects, however, of any emergency contraceptive may involve headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, weight change, or depression.

Most emergency contraception works like birth control by preventing ovulation. It is possible to take multiple birth control pills as emergency contraception but the number of pills depends on how much hormone each pill contains. It appears that 100 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol with 0.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel is about 75% effective in pregnancy prevention. However, Plan B, and other options specifically designed for emergency contraception, are not only more effective but have fewer side effects.

Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Emergency contraception is NOT the same as RU-486 or mifepristone, which provides for a medical and chemical abortion within 49 days of a woman's last menstruation.

Further anonymous questions or concerns can be taken up with the Emergency Contraception Hotline 888-668-2-5283 or in multiple languages at The website also includes a chart listing other birth control pills that can be used a emergency contraception and what doses are appropriate.