Nittany Lion "Groupies"
With athletes being the main attraction and considered celebrities on Penn State’s campus, there seems to be a growing underbelly of attention seekers, or groupies. This groupie frenzy has become an epidemic around campus and we want to know why. Why do females belittle themselves just to sleep with a man in uniform? Why do males feel the need to suck up and kiss ass to those who are constantly in the spotlight? Is it really that important? The attention that both males and females seek from this “superb” group of people proves our claim that groupies do indeed exist and feed into their celebrity.
A groupie is someone who looks to people of importance for acceptance. The means of being accepted by these athletes, musicians, and even politicians is to give special attention, which can range from sexual and intimate experiences to unique treatment is a groupie’s way of getting the attention of these so-called special people. Although it may seem all groupies are young females, there a large sector of men who will steal and do work to be recognized by these people.
Here at Penn State, it is not a surprise that football players are the most popular group of people, garnering the most attention, both positive and negative. Due to over commercialization and merchandising, students are programmed to believe that football players are their own personal celebrities. With special privileges such as free meal plans, personal trainers, and broadcasted games it is no surprise that young males and females find a thrill in knowing someone on the football team. Why do people throw themselves at them?
Some of these athletes who have been deemed privileged, tend to adopt a very confident and egotistical personality. This is why males and females gravitate towards them. Their charisma is enticing and the earning to be in the popular inner circle reels them in. When a groupie sees the star of the football team she is immediately attracted to what he does, and not necessarily who he is. In her mind she is figuring out the quickest way to get into his circle and experience his celebrity, which usually includes sex, because it is viewed as one of the most in-demand commodities in college life. The same concept applies for male groupies also.
Being a groupie is much deeper than just being attracted to campus celebrities. Groupies are also people and people have feelings. It is because of these feelings that groupies are the way they are. Many people have absence in their lives and due to that absence they look to fill it with something else. Groupies, specifically young women, look to these athletes and musicians for comfort that they may have not received from their parents. This want for attention can come from a place of insecurity or can create insecurities. The insecurities they obtain from this void is what brings them to degrade themselves and not see themselves as important.
It is a very standard formula that everyone has heard. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl live happily ever after. Of course there are substitutions, sometimes its 'boy meets boy' or 'girl and girl fall in love', but the formula remains constant. Monogamy is taught from day one of socialization, reinforced throughout life by family tradition, pop culture, and the government. But is there only one formula of love?
Meet the working formula that is polyamory. Polyamory literally means 'many loves'. Morning Glory Zell introduced the concept of polyamory in her 1990 article 'A Bouquet of Lovers'. Essentially, Zell gives a new word to the previous term 'responsible non-monogmay'. The basic concept behind polyamory is that the amount of love a partner can give and experience is not a tangible, finite amount. Polyamory holds that love is infinite and individuals are capable of loving multiple partners equally at the same time, which may or may not include sexual intimacy.
The free association of most people after hearing the phrase 'multiple partners' fall along the lines of 'slut', 'whore', and 'promiscuous'. Polyamory seems nothing more than a ploy to give a pretty name to deviant behavior. But Zell clearly outlines in her article the foundation of a polyamorous relationship as being honest and open with all partners involved. It is a common assumption that a polyamorous relationship would be riddled with jealousy, deceit, and cheating. Yet those same feelings and events plague monogamous relationships. Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt, in their book The Ethical Slut, combat some of these misconceptions: “...if something goes wrong in a monogamous marriage, nobody takes that as evidence against the practicality of monogamy – but if something goes awry in an open relationship, many folks instantly take that as proof that non-monogamy doesn't work”.
Society has assigned one pattern of loving (heterosexual and monogamous) as not only preferred and morally right, but politically correct. Who has the authority, though, to assume there is only one formula that everyone should be able to fit into? Monogamy tends to focus on a very romanticized idea of a 'better half' and 'one true love', and these concepts do not work for every person. Culture teaches that to be single is to be incomplete, to not raise a family is unfulfilling, and that to express true feelings of love lacks self-restraint and sacrifice. Although polyamory by nature means multiple loving relationships, at the heart of it, polyamory is really about loving oneself first. It teaches to not hide or change the individual for others. This responsible non-monogamy teaches that love is about being honest and accepting of one's own desires and feelings and then applying those feelings and desires towards a practical and ethical relationship of choice. Polyamory is about creating a formula of love for each person; the factors to that unique equation is up for individual choice, evaluation and implementation.
The Ethical Slut by Easton Dossie and Catherine Liszt (1997)
Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful by Anthony Ravenscoft (2004)
Polyamory: What Like Two Girlfriends? <http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html>
Celibacy vs. Promiscuity
Most parents teach their daughters to abstain from sex at a young age; at the same time, the media and advertising encourage young women to engage in more sexual activity. Is there a happy medium when defining one's sexual ideology?
Is one extremity better than the other?
In order to fully understand the spectrum and where one falls, consider the similarities and differences of each lifestyle:
Celibacy, according to Webster’s, is defined as the "abstention from sexual intercourse.” Women who abstain from sex are primarily waiting for one partner to share a sexual relationship; they could also be practicing celibacy as part of their religious or personal preference. Both circumstances depend on the woman's morals and integrity.
Celibacy is characterized as having no sexual contact; some “celibate” women still engage in oral sex (which in is still considered sex), and that means they are still at risk of getting sexually transmitted infections. In that case, it is a woman's responsibility to protect herself during sexual contact. With abstention comes a very low sexually transmitted infection risk.
Promiscuity is defined, according to Webster’s, as "having a number of sexual partners.” There is a much higher risk for sexually transmitted infections when multiple partners are involved. Some women choose this lifestyle as a form of dating - a path to their leading man. Others choose the lifestyle simply because they enjoy experiencing several partners. Promiscuity, like celibacy, depends on a woman's personal preferences.
Women of both lifestyles can be scorned for their decisions, sexual or not. Every woman is free to date whomever she pleases. A 2002 anthropological study found that, "female infidelity is good for the family, the community, and even the gene pool." The study involved research of tribal women, who are typically applauded at their number of partners. In some tribes, if a child is born, "they proudly announce the long list of probable fathers." Also, researchers found that promiscuous women are more fertile and reproduce children who appear to be better equipped for survival.
Why are women called "sluts" due to their sexual behavior? Why are promiscuous men put on pedestals? Double standards like this help to aid society's stereotypes, misconceptions and labels placed on women regarding their sexual activity. Why do some men consider it a goal to sleep with women when they go to parties? And why is that considered masculine?
Media have shaped society over the past 50 years. Sex sells; it's a symbol advertisers use to grab people's attention and sway their opinions. Sex is often used as an object of ridicule in mediums such as television shows and musical lyrics. Shows involving high amount of sexual encounters - like Friends and Seinfeld - became popular in the 1990s. Audiences are drawn to characters such as Joey (Friends) and Elaine (Seinfeld), who are applauded for their sexual promiscuity. Song lyrics are protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution (Electronic), allowing free speech in its content. Coincidentally, according to the Billboard 100, songs that involve sexual content are high on the billboard charts.
Promiscuous relationships raise a compelling question: If both parties are in it solely for lust, can it really be all that damaging? It's different when one party prefers a monogamous relationship; emotional injury can follow if that is the case. Can promiscuous women really be judged so harshly because they choose an opposite sexual lifestyle?
On the other hand, social pressures of sex are sometimes difficult to escape. Should a woman choose to embrace sexual pressures or should she choose to abstain from sex all together? The decision of choosing a lifestyle can hinder emotional stress. Yet, with benefits and disadvantages to both, why are both classes of women judged negatively?
Sexual ideologies, whether they are influenced by media or not, are established individually by each woman.
It’s astonishing how sexualized our society has become yet many females still can not talk about PORN.
Are we ashamed of being looked at as sexual beings?
Do we need to portray a virgin-like persona?
Do we need to portray a promiscuous persona?
Is it because porn isn’t made for women?
Is it because it’s degrading towards women?
Porn has remained taboo throughout history and has always been created for males. Now, this seems to be changing.
Magazines like Playgirl, and porn sites made by women-for women, show that females are also sexual beings. Porn star Jenna Jameson explained on the Bill O’reilly Show that she believes porn is empowering for women, “For too long women have been suppressed . . . when a woman is sexually forward and comfortable with herself she is free.”
Others though, believe that porn is made to degrade women-placing them in forced, violent sex scenes centered around the male orgasm. Critics also say porn teaches young girls that skinny bodies and double D breasts are what it means to be beautiful.
Let’s think about it. Porn is within our reach by a simple computer click.
Whether or not we watch porn, we should realize it is a common source of sexual knowledge for teens. Do we want them watching Mr. Big Boy strangling every woman? Do we want teenage girls to think the only way to get a guy to like them is if they have double D’s? Yet, would we want women to feel like non-sexual beings? Now, there is tons of porn that is created specifically, to target the female audience. This is becoming a growing successful business.
Although many feminists may be completely against porn, I am not. I do think porn industries need to minimize the amount of violent content– depicting women as wanting to be raped or treated as such. Studies show that frequently watching acts of violence makes the act seem acceptable. Women being hurt (specifically to porn that depicts this type of behavior) is glamorized and represented as normal. This does not mean that if people watch aggressive porn they go out and act aggressively, but normalizing this type of behavior does not help stop the degradation that does exist. Normalizing women being treated violently makes it acceptable for someone to ignore or downsize a real situation in which a woman may need help. Porn is more complex than we think. I’m all for embracing our sexual sides and exploring them, but to what extent are we willing to explore this? To what extent do we accept hurting each other as a form of pleasure?
To what extent?
Tickle his Pickle and Shower your Flower with a Pleasure Party
Just break up with your boyfriend? Worry that your sex life is missing something? Need a little pick-me-up to get through the day? Want to please your partner better than anyone has before? So many little things can make any relationship seem so complicated and difficult to maintain. But fear no more ladies, because the solution to these problems may be found in State College.
The answer is not a trick, an experiment, or something that even takes effort- it’s a woman named Pamela Luu. She does “Pleasure Parties by Pamela,” which is like a Tupperware party- except instead of buying a knife set, Pamela is helping women (and men) indulge in their guiltiest pleasures while learning what makes sexual health fun and important for everyone to know.
She is a consultant for For Your Pleasure (FYP), a company that specializes in marketing sex toys and other products to enhance your most intimate moments with a partner or yourself.
Pleasure parties with Pamela will teach you how to spice up your sex life, indulge in your desires and more importantly, help you understand your own body! Pamela gives all the juicy details about having a pleasure party in her interview with FLY Magazine, giving more insight into State College’s dirty little secret.
FLY: How did you get started doing Pleasure Parties?
Pamela: Well, I went to my first two parties in 2001, back when I was working at Hooters. When I heard about it, it peaked my interest and looked like fun. I’m not embarrassed to talk about sex and the women [consultants] looked like they were having a good time. I kind of put it in the back of my head, until I was working two to three jobs at the time. I hated working for other people with no return income, no thank you and basically putting money in other peoples’ income. [I researched] a few companies and before I chose FYP, I had mail from at least 10 to 12 companies.
FLY: Are there a lot of companies that sell sex toys and products?
Pamela: Oh yeah, they’re everywhere. Like I said, I had mail from 10 to 12 companies before I chose FYP. Some are regional, nationwide; [FYP] is nationwide. I chose FYP because I liked the size of the catalogue, the quality of the products. The hostess benefits are great because the hostesses can choose from anything in the catalogue, instead of some companies that let them choose from a list. Overall, FYP was the best fit.
FLY: How long have you been doing pleasure parties?
Pamela: 2005. That’s when I bought my first – no wait that’s not true. I bought my first toy in 1995. Whoops!
FLY: How would you describe a Pleasure Party?
Pamela: The store comes to the ladies for the night and they get to touch, taste, turn on, feel the products. It’s something tangible in their hands so they can really know what they’re getting and I sneak in education too. I want people to walk out having learned something. It’s an open forum to talk about [sex] and I’ll open up the floor to everyone so it’s more comfortable. It gives women an opportunity to get something for themselves and if they aren’t ready just yet, I usually hear from them down the line.
“If you don’t know what you like, how will your partner know?”
FLY: What kind of education do you mean?
Pamela: [I want] women to say “I can do this, I can take care of myself, I don’t need a man or partner all the time.” It’s empowering, it’s better for both partners and it’s nice to have some sort of map [because] if you don’t know what you like, how will your partner know?
FLY: Why do you think sexual health and exploration is important?
Pamela: First off, people should know the basic do’s and dont’s of sex. Like the whole butt sex thing, some people don’t understand it. It’s a pleasure zone, but it’s so taboo that most people don’t understand you can’t just shove [something] in there. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know yourself; it’s healthy. Orgasms are healthy. They can even take off six years of your physiological age. A vulva puppet, pictures and diagrams only do so much; it’s hard to teach. And the lube thing – you need to have it – you can get rashes, chafe down there, you just need it. It’s an essential item to have and so many people overlook it. It’s just important for people to understand their bodies.
FLY: What are your requirements for the person hosting a pleasure party?
Pamela: We go through a hostess- coaching meeting [where they] take a catalogue and I explain how everything works. The more successful the party, the more free stuff the hostess gets. I also require there to be at least 10 people and all at least 18 years old for legality reasons. We can’t even go if there’s a baby in the room. The hostess just needs to provide friends and space and I come in with all the products. If we work together, it makes it so much better!
FLY: Do you do pleasure parties for males?
Pamela: I’m not very comfortable with [heterosexual] guys. I hate to say it, but sometimes when guys get uncomfortable they make me uncomfortable. I always say I’m like little and Asian and they think I’m gonna shoot things out of my hoo-hah. I like doing couples party though, because they get to come together and learn together. I love it because sometimes they can be so adorable. One time a boyfriend and girlfriend came down together, and after they bought stuff, the boyfriend came down after and asked to buy something to surprise his girlfriend because he knew she really wanted it.
I like that couples want to be educated, willing to come together, [be] supportive. I love that. Guys should always embrace products like this because it just makes the relationship better. There’s nothing wrong with exploration and experimentation. It bothers me when guys say things like, “Well if God meant for us to have vibrating penises we would have had them.” But really, you’re the only one who knows how to get yourself off in five seconds.
FLY: What’s the best part of hosting a party?
Pamela: There are too many things! I love people having fun, making them laugh, opening the door to someone new, get something that appeals to you. I’ve had people call down the line and say, “I want something bigger and better!” I love giving them that exposure. You can talk to me. I will have people call me and talk about things that are sex-related, not even just [about] toys. I had one girl call me with cock ring emergency – I love that!
I’m not embarrassed about what I do, I love what I do and I love when people want to talk to me about it. Just don’t come talk to me about it when I’m out with my mom! She’s definitely not happy about my choice in business!
Interested in hosting your own pleasure party with Pamela? You can check out her website:
Or check out her Facebook page,
“Pleasure Parties” by Pamela
Where you can sign up for her newsletter, e-mail or call to set up a party today!
FLY: Why should someone have a pleasure party?
Pamela: First off, it makes you feel good- it gets you off! It’s not always about the clit – there are so many other parts on the female body that people forget about! I had one girl tell me that her doctor said that she was abnormal for not being able to orgasm and I told her to get a new doctor. There could be scar tissue built up from a simple injury like falling on a playground and sometimes you need a more powerful vibe to break it up. Some women have a mental block that prevents them from orgasming. Some just aren’t comfortable at all with their vagina. I had one girl who was talking about her “area” and said, “I don’t know her. ”I was like please get to know her! Everyone should have at least one [toy]. But guys have to remember the toy is not meant to be a replacement! It’s just so much fun. It makes you happy. It’s like a naughty little secret. If anyone is worried about the ordering part, it comes in a brown bag with no revealing information and there’s private ordering. [I accept] cash, credit cards, checks…but cash always works, I love cash!
FLY: Any last remarks?
Pamela:I think every girl should just come to one or have onejust to see what it’s like.It’s not as scary as some people like to think.You get [the products] in your hands; you’re not gonna get that opportunity much in other places.I’m a toucher – I need to feel it to see if I’m gonna like it.If you want to save money just have the party because you get so much for free! It’s a fun night for girls.
Fear of Going to the Gyno
Ever been to the gynecologist? Oh come on, have you? Going to the gynecologist is like going to the regular physician, kind of. There is nothing to be scared of! Part of a woman’s health is maintenance. That involves taking care of her vagina, breasts, and checking up on hormone levels. Women’s bodies are extremely complicated and very diverse.
Ever heard of a yeast infection? UTI? Have you ever felt your breast, and noticed the irregular texture deep within? Do you know how to test for lumps? Going for a check-up at the gyno really isn’t so bad. Your gyno can help you learn what you need to look out forand check up on your body in places that you can’t.
Let’s deal with the stress. You might be worried about undressing in front of a stranger but haven’t you lifted your shirt at the physician’s to monitor your breathing?
Now about your pants. Don’t stress! If she’s a woman, she has one too. And if he’s a guy, he’s seen one too. You have to realize, these are doctors who’ve seen dozens of breasts and vaginas every single day! Yours will not be singled out or judged, don’t worry! =)
Your gynecologist has a confidentiality policy. If you reveal something to him/her, it is strictly between the two of you. Your mom, dad, little sister and friends will not know. Be as honest as possible to get the best exam.
The gynecologist needs to be aware of how many partners you have had and of when you became sexually active. The gynecologist can give you inside tips that your regular physician won’t, and he/she can prescribe you with birth control. Together, with your gynecologist, you can discuss and decide on the right methods of safe sex and care for YOUR body. Each woman is different and you can’t just do what your friend did when she had that UTI, or what google recommends for STI’s.
The truth is, your gyno is the only one who can tell you if you REALLY have an infection or disease of any sort. Your gyno knows which tests to do and which medicines you may need to take. The symptoms listed on WEBMD are simply suggestions. Trust the doctors who go to medical school for a reason. If every single thing was as available and common-sense on the internet as many people tend to think, doctors would have no patients! But patients keep coming and doctors keep treating, so visit a gynecologist.
Sex and the Valley
From the chaste girls of the 50’s, to the over-sexed days of the 60’s and 70’s, sex has always been a hot topic of discussion. And fast-forwarding to the 21st century, things certainly haven’t changed a bit.
Nowadays it seems as though sex has become such a natural part of society that it is normal to hear of young women having sex long before they even have marriage plans in sight. Even when it comes to dating, sex with a new man after a few good dates is just as common nowadays as getting dinner and a movie.
Sitting in class, grabbing some lunch or walking downtown, chances are you’ll hear at least one person having a surprisingly casual conversation about a recent sexual encounter. So after hearing countless girls recall their sexcapades with their boyfriends, “friends with benefits,” or one-night stands, I began to wonder…is sex really worth the wait?
I decided to ask around campus to get the general consensus about the sex-abstinence debate. Whether it’s the changing times or a lack of faith in marital vows, it seems like the majority of students would rather fill their sexual appetite than wait until the day they say “I Do.”
Alicia*,19, had her fair share to say about abstinence. “I thought sex was a huge, huge deal before I had it,” she said, “and then I was pretty surprised that I didn't feel much different. I guess I somewhat thought it was going to change me in a way. I definitely believe in waiting until you are in love but waiting for marriage is a joke. How many people get divorced today anyways!”
Although many young people might be hesitant to get married since divorce seems like the new marriage proposal, many students agreed with Alicia that being in love is important when opening the sexual gates. Even men like Eric*, 19, said, “If you love someone, I think that having sex isn't unreasonable, married or not.”
On the other side of the argument, can sex ever just be sex? It appears to be a popular choice among sexually active students, insisting that sex is much like any other activity that people enjoy doing. Laura*, 20, said, “I think it's part of a normal intimate relationship and I would never marry someone without having sex with them first because I would want to know what that aspect of the relationship would be like.” Or in short as Devon*, 18, put it: “you need to test drive the car before you buy it.”
Yet for some, sex isn’t even about making sure that a couple of people are compatible in the bedroom, but simply something that your body naturally desires. Like Nicole*, 20, said, “It is a physiological need. I see no reason to prolong it [until marriage]. It is just like hunger or thirst. Why torture yourself?” Perhaps sex really is something your body cannot live without, or perhaps it is something that can wait until love is in the air. But what about the girls who haven’t gone past home base just yet?
Even though most of the feedback I received maintained the idea that sex has become more common and casual, several women did say that their virginity has stood the test of time and drunken frat boys. But being abstinent for now doesn’t always mean staying abstinent until marriage. Rachael*, 19, said, “I have a lot of respect for people who remain abstinent until marriage. I don’t think it’s the choice I’m going to make, but people who do make that commitment in this culture have the right to be very proud of themselves.”
Several other girls had similar responses, which ultimately reiterated the idea that they were waiting until they were comfortable with the other person or were in love. But the idea of a chaste bride has not entirely disappeared – Sarah*, 18, chooses not to engage in premarital sex because “[Abstinence] is the best way to remain safe.”
In reality, the decision to have or not have sex should be a personal choice, but most students agreed that pressure to have sex before marriage continues to build during college. Mary*, 19, is abstinent, but did say that she has felt the pressure to have sex “It's easy, seems fun, and so many people have already lost their virginity, so you seem out of the loop if you haven't.”
Abstinent people are not the only ones with the extra burden; even those who have already lost their virginity still feel pressure to continue to have sex. Jennifer*, 21, said she has felt pressure to have sex “because that's what most guys seem to want. And it seems hard to keep one without having sex at some point.” And just like females, men are competing against the pressure as well.
Bobby*, 19, said, “Scoring with a girl has become a form of validation of self and of masculinity.” Unfortunately for any student who feels pressure to have sex, chances are it will not subside anytime soon. But all the pressure in the world shouldn’t keep you from doing what feels most comfortable. Sex is intimate so what you do behind closed doors is entirely up to you.
When it comes down to it, I think sex will never have an age or time limit. We will always find ways as a society to glorify sex and denounce it at the same time. Maybe sex is like being granted a constitutional right; you have the right to have sex as you please, but you are not necessarily required to exercise this right. The right of having sex is there when you want to use it, and punishable (by means of unfortunate consequences) when you try to abuse it.
With that said, if you are sexually active, the most important thing to remember is to practice safe sex. Condoms, birth control and other contraceptives are readily available in different locations on and around campus for the sake of keeping people protected. Sex can be a great experience, but it can also lead to not-so-great scenarios like an unwanted pregnancy or contracting STD’s or HIV. You might hear every excuse in the book as to why protection isn’t necessary, but accidents do happen (i.e. the “pull-out” method failed) and diseases are easy to spread. Don’t voluntarily put yourself in a position where you could be at risk just because he thinks condoms make sex less pleasurable, or she says contraceptives “ruin the mood.” Trust me, if they’re doing it right, it will definitely feel just as good and most definitely will not ruin the mood.
If sex is not on your to-do list just yet, there is absolutely no rush to get there! At times it may feel like everyone around you is having sex, and for some it may feel like they’re the last-standing college virgins, but the reality is, sex isn’t for everyone at the same time. Sex is always going to be a personal choice. If you are abstinent, but not necessarily waiting until marriage, then at least wait until you are ready to have sex – you don’t deserve to settle for anything less than exactly what you have wanted. And if you are waiting until marriage, more power to you! Abstinence is truly the only 100% effective form of birth control, so you’ll never have to worry about the ‘my period is late’ situation if you’re a lady, or the unfortunate “baby daddy” case if you’re a gent. I’m sure you’d be glad to live without ever going through either situation as many people have before.
The good news is, no matter what path you choose to take, you’ll never be the only one with that decision. In the end, you have to do what works best for you. It is ultimately your decision, your body, and your life and no one should be in control of that except for you!
*Names have been changed to keep anonymity.
What's Your Pleasure?
By Annamarie DiRaddo
Think you know all you need to about sex, right? After all, how hard is putting on a rubber, popping a pill, or just pulling out? These are the essential basics, right?
FLY is giving you a full explanation of the different types of condoms available for the most pleasurable experience. Ladies, it's your responsibility, too. Just because it's not going on your body doesn’t mean it's not going in. Knowing what products work best for you and your partner(s) is safer, smarter, and more enjoyable for all involved.
Lubricated Condoms: These are the most common and easiest to use. Lubrication helps for a gentle entry and ride. There are two types of lubrication called silicone and water-based. A water-based lubricant may feel sticky, and the water could evaporate quickly.
Non-Lubricated Condoms: These are for couples who prefer to use other types of lubrication and jellies. When using latex condoms, never used oil-based lubricants, like Vaseline, because it will break the latex making the condom ineffective.
Desensitizing: Sick of your partner always ejaculating before you climax? These condoms are perfect for you. There’s a mild numbing ingredient on the condom at the tip of the penis to help extend your pleasure and climax.
Shaped or Contoured: The goal of these is to allow more friction in the sensitive nerve endings of the penis. The types vary with each brand and are built to please males who don’t like wearing condoms. (Are there any that like it?)
Latex Condoms: These are cheaper and more readily available than polyurethane condoms.
Polyurethane Condoms: These are more expensive and less flexible, but they are thinner and made with plastic to heighten sensitivity. These can be used with both oil and water-based lubricants.
Large v. Small: This is referring to the diameter of the condom. Be honest with this because a condom that is too small will break while one too big can slide off.
Long v. Short: This has to do with the amount of headroom and could determine how much “juice” spills out. Longer condoms with more headroom increase sensitivity because material is rubbing over the nerve endings at the head of the penis.
Textured Condoms: These condoms are designed to give your partner and/or yourself extra pleasure. These range from flared to ribbed, but the best way to find out what works for you and your partner is to try them!
Colors: There are all different types of colors that provide the same protection as plain condoms. There are even Glow in the Dark condoms, so you can turn off the lights and easily get to business.
Flavors: Many companies provide flavored condoms to make oral sex more interesting and promotes safe oral sex. HIV and herpes are most commonly spread through oral sex.
There are also female condoms, which consists of a ring that is inserted into the vagina while the opening of the condom lines the entrance of the vagina. These condoms are harder to come by and more expensive than male condoms. Other styles and types do exist in other countries, but the United States has yet to approve these.
Don’t forget: Penn State’s Health Center also provides free male and female condoms!
References: www.condom.com contraception.about.com www.mjbovo.com www.stopaids.org
Bra Fitting 101
Photos: Anthony Santiago
Do you find it hard to find a bra that fits comfortably? Maybe you always have straps falling down at the most inopportune times or a band that is too tight around your back?
Patty Stover, owner of Jezebel's Boutique, answered all of FLY's bra questions. The trendy lingerie store carries brands like Elle Macpherson, Betsy Johnson, DKNY and Ongossaner.
Jezebel's, located on the corner of Garner Road and College Avenue, also offers custom bra fitting so you won't have any trouble finding your size. Bras range in sizes ranging from 30AA to 44K with a variety of colors and styles.
The most common mistake girls make when picking out bras is "too large of a band size (measurement around your back) and too small of a cup size," Stover said. When it comes to support, she said, "Support should come from the band, not from the straps. Straps only give about 10-15 percent of support."
Many girls find themselves with dents in their shoulders and mistakenly think it is from the straps not being adjusted properly. While this could be the case, it could also be from a wrong fit-in band size. The band should fit snug, and the straps should lie on the top of the shoulders.
For larger breasted women, Stover suggests underwire bras because they offer much more support. Full coverage contour-wire bras are best for support. Seamless bras are very comfortable but do not offer as much lift and support.
When it comes down to choosing the size that will give you the best fit, Stover said, "We just measure the band size and then let you try the bras on."
Cup size can vary from bra to bra. Every company varies in their measurements so it is very important to try on the bras before purchasing them. A proper bra size can make all the difference.
"Getting the proper fitting bra can make you look so much different. It can do everything from relieve back pain to making your chest look much more lifted," affirms Stover.
The C, the O, the N, the D-O-M-s
By Mady Martinez
CONDOMS: The slippery, latex-smelling, funny-looking, “oh shit I hope it doesn’t break!”, tube-like things, we may or may not remember before sex.
Condoms have now (hopefully) become a part of routine sex. By “condoms” most assume male condoms. Probably, because male condoms are used more often than female condoms. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why some people feel condoms are offensive or dis-empowering to women.
This perspective is understandable. Many commercials and advertisements present the male condom as a magic tool that will make any woman want to have sex. Trojan released a commercial that had several pigs at a bar hitting on different beautiful women. As soon as one of the pigs bought a Trojan condom he became a man and women wanted to sleep with him. The message behind this, condoms make women want to have sex. Yet, who says this is a bad thing?
Condoms empower women. Since the beginning of time women had their sexuality, bodies and reproductive system controlled because they didn't have any form of contraception that worked. The Persians used methods such as stuffing a woman's vaginal canal with animal parts. Doctors during the medieval times used methods like administrating mercury after intercourse in order to prevent pregnancies.
Condoms have given women their natural right to protect themselves from STD's and to control their own bodies. Before condoms, women didn’t control how many children they wanted to have. There were many unwanted pregnancies because of this societal rule. It was common for women to become pregnant over and over again just because they did not know how to control the timing.
The idea of women having no say whether or not they have a child may seem unrealistic, however; today, the Catholic Church is against women using contraception, even if they are married.
The fact that women can go to the local pharmacy and purchase condoms is something that would've been considered radical only 25 years ago. Condoms have provided women with security and privacy. Women have a right to decide whether or not they are ready to have a child. A man has the same right as well, but at the same time, a man doesn't have to carry a child for 9 months and breast feed him/her then care for the child until he/she is grown. It is easier for a man to walk away. Not all men do, but it does happen, just like women walk away. Condoms help avoid this.
Condoms can be used until the couple decides the time is right to reproduce. Women can decide as opposed to just carrying the baby because they 'accidentally' became pregnant. Condoms give women choices. They are empowering. So don’t be a fool and wrap your tool!
Safer Sex is Better Sex
I bet you didn’t know this about me: besides being a heath educator, I am also a psychic. I already know what you’re thinking as you begin to read this article: “Don’t bore us with stats! We know that people under the age of 25 make up 2/3 of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We know that the most common symptom of an STI is not having any symptom. We know condoms can protect us against STIs!”
Okay, okay, I hear you. But, someone doesn’t know these things. Otherwise the STI statistic wouldn’t be what they are. You want campus specific stats? Yeah, I have those, too! But, remember, these statistics only reflect students who a) came in to get tested, and b) did so at UHS.
STI Students at PSU
These may not be huge percentages of the campus population, but considering the number of people getting tested, they aren’t that small, either. "So what?" you think, "most people use condoms if they are at risk." Reality check: almost everyone is at risk. And, survey says: Among a national sample of sexually active high school students, 37.2% had not used a condom at last sexual intercourse. And, among a sample of sexually active college students, 39% reported unprotected sex at last sexual encounter.
"Well, that’s okay," you think, "because at least 60% are using condoms!" But who’s to say that those who are using condoms are using them correctly? One study of college males who were consistent condom users found that between 13-34% made condom errors in the past month that would have put their partners at risk for a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy.
- 13% assuming that some of the errors were made during the same sexual encounter
- 34% assuming that they were on separate encounters
- Mistakenly putting a condom on inside out and then flipping it over (because pre-cum- which can containsperm and is also able to transmit several STIs- could now be on the outside of the condom.
- Unrolling the condom before putting it on (contributing to breakage).3. Starting intercourse without a condom and then putting one on (because pre-cum could already be inside the partner).
So who is at fault? Parents? The 63% of schools that don’t teach how to use condoms? Does it matter? The take-home message is that it is time to educate yourself and your friends about safer sex. Even if you think you have all the answers, it can’t hurt to be sure. In fact, it can hurt if you don’t take the time to be sure!
And now for my final prediction: Madame Spring sees a Safer Sex party in your future…
UHS provides Safer Sex parties to any group of students or student organizations through the HIV/AIDS Risk Reduction Advisory Council (HARRAC). The parties are interactive, engaging, and lots of fun!
Parties can be held Sunday through Thursday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at a location that best suits the students. Sororities, fraternities, resident assistants, and any other student organization on campus are encouraged to submit and application for a party.
This can be done by filling out the request form online at www.dontignoreit.com.
References: Brown J.L. & Vanable, P.A. (2007). Alcohol use, partner type, and risky sexual behavior among college students: Findings from an event-level study. Addictive BehaviorEaton, D.K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Harris, W.A., Lowry, R., McManus, T., Chyen, D., Shanklin, S., Lim, C., Grunbaum, J.A., Wechsler, H. (2006). Youth risk behavior surveillance Warner, L., Clay-Warner, J., Boles, J., Williamson, J. (1998). Assessing condom use practices. Implications for evaluating method and user effectiveness. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The Deficit Reduction Act
By Annamarie DiRaddo
What is it: An act that went into effect in January 2007. It ended the Nominal Pricing Exemption that allowed pharmaceutical companies to receive discounted drugs.
Who: Medicaid refused to continue compensating for the discounts companies were offering.
How Penn State is Affected: The Act inadvertently stopped providing discounts on birth control which has caused the prices of contraception to increase at Penn State within the past year.
So What’s the Problem: Students without health insurance (because its too expensive or they are on a parent’s plan and don’t want them knowing they are using birth control) have to pay from $10-$50 more for birth control each month. Some insurance policies do not even cover contraception costs. Planned Parenthood’s have also been effected including the local branch in State College. Purchasing contraception outside Penn State, such as CVS or Giant, does not guarantee cheaper products.
WHAT CAN BE DONE:The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act has been sitting in the Committee of Energy and Commerce since it was first presented to the House on November 1, 2007. A lot of Conservative opposition has resulted because of this act, causing the legislation to just sit in Congress. This Act has 166 Cosponsors but State College’s district representative is not a supporter. Please show your support for the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act. Go to:
When you fill in your information the pre-made letter gets sent directly to your congressperson. You can fill it out twice with an address from home and your local Penn State address.
Just Some Thoughts....
Whitney Tarwater, a junior, stopped using birth control when the prices increased. “It got to the point where it just wasn’t worth it. Going from $15 a month to $50 was absurd.”
“It all boils down to a Puritan mentality that college kids shouldn’t be having sex,” said Linda LaSalle, Health Educator in Health Promotion and Wellness.
“I’m not working as much as I was in the summer,” said Jackie Damiani, a junior. “All I’ve noticed is that I’m paying more.”
“Access to birth control and emergency contraceptives are a huge pare of women’s reproductive empowerment,” said Spring Cooper, Health Educator in Health Promotion and Wellness and lecturer in Biobehavioral Health. “Taking away access to contraception-even if only by increasing price-limits women’s rights and choices.”
“Denying low income and college women the ability to use contraception will surely increase unintended pregnancies and pregnancy terminations.” (Now.org)
Body Images and...Sexually Transmitted Infections?
By Spring Cooper
“These jeans look terrible on me.”
“I’ll never be as thin as my sister.”
“I wish I had her legs.”
Most of us have said something similar to one of those statements. If not, you are probably used to hearing women bad-mouth themselves. Poor self-image has become cliché. Even the most successful, intelligent, and fulfilled women have body image difficulties.
But the fact that many women suffer from reduced body image isn’t newsworthy. Most of the associated consequences aren’t new information either. Here’s one that may be of interest to college-aged women, though:Poor body image is associated with risky sexual behaviors.
When studies evaluate women’s body image in relation to their protective sexual behaviors, the results are compelling. One such study measured body image both through women’s investment in their appearance and shame of their appearance and body shape. Body shame was highly associated with inconsistent condom use and having multiple sexual partners.
Another study found that girls who had higher levels of self-esteem and self-image were more likely to have positive attitudes toward condoms, have higher self-efficacy in their ability to negotiate condom use, have more frequent communication about sexuality with both partners and parents, have fewer perceived barriers to condom usage, and be less fearful about the prospect of negotiating condom use.
At first glance, the conclusion that poor body image is associated with riskier sexual behaviors such as increased sexual partners may seem shocking, even confusing: wouldn’t someone with poor body image want to keep their body away from possible partners’ harsh criticisms? But, upon closer inspection, it makes intuitive sense through two different lenses.
1. Poor body image could influence a woman’s self confidence and lack of ability to negotiate her wants and needs in relationships.
2. And conversely, positive feelings about one’s body promote a caring attitude and respect toward it.
Wow! Forget sex education. All we need to do to mitigate risky sexual situations is plump up women’s self-esteem and give them more positive outlooks on their body images!
Okay, maybe that’s a little over the top. Women still need information and skill sets. But, improving women’s body images can really go a long way. While most of us know that advertisers, make-up companies, the fashion industry, and Hollywood (to name a few) have a strong hold in our daily battle with self-perceptions, there is still something we can do for our friends. After all, peers are also one of the most important factors in our well-being.
So, next time you hear a friend or family member depreciating their body, step up to the plate for them. Remind them, in subtle ways, of their beauty, both inside and out. Need a reason? Do it for their mood, their sanity, or just to give them extra protection against a sexually transmitted infection!
References: Littleton, Breitkoph, & Berenson, 2005 Salazar, Crosby, DiClemente, Wingood