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Sexual Health

Learn about satisfying and consensual relationships, access to safer sex supplies, as well as many other resources around sex and sexuality. The best way to get started is to learn about your resources and find out how you can get more information, get tested regularly, get vaccinated, know how to access contraception or know where to get a prescription for birth control. 

Our sexual health education program is designed to provide accurate and comprehensive information about sexual health, safety, and self-agency to a diverse population of 26,000 students. In doing so, our students can make informed and thoughtful decisions about their physical, emotional, and social well-being according to their own values, whether their values lead them to choose abstinence or those who choose to be sexually active.

Covid 19 & Sex

All close contact (within 6 feet) with an infected person can expose you to COVID-19. While the virus has been detected in the semen of people who have or are recovering from the virus, COVID-19 has not currently been observed as sexually transmittable via anal or vaginal sex specifically. Kissing and mouth-to-mouth activity can transmit the virus via saliva. There is some evidence indicating that transmission can occur via fecal matter. It is important to utilize dental dams as a barrier if performing analingus.

If all of the following criteria are met, then sex may be a great way to connect, have fun, and relieve anxiety during this stressful time:

  • Your partner and you live together
  • Both you and your partner have not tested positive COVID-19
  • Both parties do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Both you and your partner are practicing physical distancing/shelter in place
  • There are no known likely exposures to either party

Since physical distancing is important to keep new transmission rates down, that includes casual sex as well. Sexting, phone sex, and video chat with partners are safe. Masturbation is also a safe practice.

The more people you have sexual contact or physical contact with either at one time or at separate times, the more it increases the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, as well as STIs (sexually transmitted infections). 

Using apps can be helpful to meet new people, but meeting face to face can increase the chances of COVID-19 transmission (as well as STIs). Safer options to connect with people on apps are sexting, phone sex, video calls, and/or mutual masturbation through a digital device.

Be sure however to follow these tips for safe sexting:

- Don't include your name in the photo/video.

- Don't include any information that may identify you in the photo/video.

- Don't include your face or any identifying features in the photo/video such as birthmarks, tattoos or piercings.

You can sanitize sex toys (including COVID-19 from saliva and fecal matter) by using soap and water. If you are using dildos, you can use a new condom with each partner.

How to Clean Different Sex Toy Materials

More Info From Mayo Clinic

Condom Dispenser

UCSB Condom Distribution Program

The Condom Distribution Program at UCSB is a free service dedicated to encouraging safer sex for those that are sexually active by making condoms at UCSB accessible, attainable, and acceptable (sex-positive and normalized) according to CDC Guidelines. Condom Dispensers are located across campus and in the residence halls. These dispensers are filled with free lubricated and non-lubricated condoms. The program is a partnership between the Department of Health & Wellness, RHA, RCSGD, and The Women's Center. Please note that during the summer months, condoms will be available only at select locations. Click below to find a Condom Dispenser near you! If you're a department that is interested in distributing condoms as well, please contact jason.stone@sa.ucsb.edu.

Please note that during Fall 2020, the Condom Distribution Program locations will be modified. Please check back soon as we update locations with availability for this quarter. 

Locate a Condom Dispenser

PrEP and PEP (HIV Prevention Medications)

PrEP and PEP are two medications that can decrease the risk of contracting HIV that may result from unprotected sex (sex without a condom), injection drug use, or other methods of exposure. PrEP is taken preventative and PEP is taken within 72 hours of exposure as an emergency prophylaxis.

Taking PrEP

Prep

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an antiviral medication taken before potentially coming into contact with HIV. It is a daily medication that, when taken properly, can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%. PrEP should be used in conjunction with barrier methods like condoms and dental dams to reduce HIV risk and prevent other sexually transmitted infections.

There are programs through the drug manufacturers that can reduce or eliminate copays and costs depending on what type of insurance you have. Please talk to an insurance specialist or your clinician for more information. If you have UC SHIP, you can contact the Insurance Office:

SHS Insurance Office is working remotely!

Please email them at
 SHS Insurance or Join the QLess Line to speak with an Insurance Advisor by phone.
Hours of Operation
MON      8:00am - 10:30am & 11:30am - 4:30pm
TUES     8:00am - 4:30pm
WED      9:00am - 4:30pm
THURS  8:00am - 10:30am & 11:30am - 4:30pm
FRI         8:00am - 4:30pm

Students can access PrEp at the Following Locations:

For more information, we recommend visiting the CDC website:

CDC Info on PrEP

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is an antiviral medication taken after a high-risk exposure to HIV. This medication is more effective the earlier it is taken and must be taken within 72 hours of the exposure. You can get PEP at any urgent care, emergency room, healthcare clinic or from your primary care provider. Both PrEP and PEP are incredibly effective and safe with minimal side effects.

PrEP is meant for individuals who are at high risk of acquiring HIV. Not sure of your level of risk?  Whatever your gender identity or sexual orientation, this tool developed by the CDC can help you assess the risk of HIV transmission from various sexual activities. This tool is not a substitute for advice from your medical provider, to find out if PrEP is the right HIV prevention strategy for you, schedule an appointment with your health care provider to learn more. If you are a UCSB Student Health patient (have UC SHIP Insurance), join the Line to speak to them via phone and make an appointment, no need to give the reason for the visit.

Insurance Coverage for PEP

If you’re prescribed PEP after a sexual assault, you may qualify for partial or total reimbursement for medicines and clinical care costs through the Office for Victims of Crime, funded by the US Department of Justice.

 State Support for PEP

If you’re prescribed PEP for another reason and you cannot get insurance coverage (Medicaid, Medicare, private, or employer-based), your health care provider can apply for free PEP medicines through the medication assistance programs run by the manufacturers. Online applications can be faxed to the company, or some companies have special phone lines. These can be handled urgently in many cases to avoid a delay in getting medicine.

You can get more information on PEP at the CDC Website:

CDC Info on PEP

Students can access PEP at the Following Locations:

Please note that there may be a cost for PEP, Urgent Care, and Emergency Room visits depending on your insurance coverage.

Free HIV Testing

UCSB HIV Testing

Free, confidential rapid HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C) testing is generally available every quarter at this special 1 day mobile clinic. Free healthy snacks, tea, and mindful stress-reducing activities are available as you wait for your results. Counseling and after care guidance is administered through Pacific Pride Foundation (you do NOT need to identify as LGBTQIA+) to receive the test or aftercare. Dates are announced on our website under upcoming events. 

Please note that during Fall Quarter 2020 we will NOT be administering this mobile clinic event due to COVID-19. You can receive HIV Testing (they may be at cost) at the following locations:

Planned Parenthood                          UCSB Student Health Service

Watch Video​​​​​​​

UCSB Safer Sex Peers

In this 2 part training, learn more about holistic sexual health including STI's, contraception (hormonal and barrier), communication, anatomy, sexual response system, consent, and more. As a Safer Sex Peer, you'll be a resource to other students with questions to offer information and referals to professional resources on the topic of sexual health. Our sexual health education program is designed to provide accurate and comprehensive information about sexual health, safety, and self-agency to a diverse population of 26,000 students. In doing so, students can make informed and thoughtful decisions about their physical, emotional, and social well-being according to their own values, whether their values lead them to choose abstinence or for those who choose to be sexually active.  Safer Sex Peers training happens in the fall quarter.

UCSB Safer Sex Peers

Relationship Health

There are so many relationships on campus: romantic, sexual, hookups, friends with benefits, platonic and many other types. Learning to navigate and self advocate in relationships can improve the mutual benefits of any relationship. Learning relationship phases, communication skills, identifying personal boundaries, and clarifying your own values are wonderful tools to have as you create new relationships in your life at UC Santa Barbara and beyond.

Improving Communication

Appropriate assertiveness and open communication are the foundation of any strong, healthy relationship. Even in the happiest of relationships, whether that be professional, personal or romantic, conflicts are frustrations are likely to arise. Appropriate assertiveness allows someone to clearly state their opinions, feelings, and wants. This helps to reduce the tension in a given conflict and allow the conversation to proceed productively and respectfully without escalating. Click Below to learn more about effective communication methods and lessons!

Using "I" Statements

 

I Statement

Boundaries and Consent

Establishing your boundaries with the people in your life can benefit everybody. It is important to communicate consent (both receiving and giving) for everyone. You may have different boundaries for different people and for different situations or circumstances. Where do you begin? Check out the buttons below to explore more:

Consent

Boundaries

Beach

For additional readings and resources on this health topic, check out our UCSB Library Well-being LibGuide!

Go to LibGuide