During my first week at Queen’s, my residence floor had the pleasure of being visited by representatives from the Sexual Health Resource Center (SHRC). These “sexperts” introduced us to the amazing resource students have right at our fingertips that provide sex-related services from safe sex products and sex toys to a safe place to go for information on matters of sex, sexuality and sexual health. Intrigued by the presentation, I decided to investigate on my own.
I began my tour of the SHRC with an introduction to the safer sex products including condoms, coming in a variety of sizes, flavours and textures, as well as lubricants. I personally prefer water-based lubricants as these aren’t as harmful on sensitive skin, are compatible with silicone toys and decrease the likelihood of stains on sheets and clothing in comparison to silicone. Therefore, it made sense to me that two of the most popular lubricants sold at the SHRC are water-based, consisting of the Slippery Stuff gel lubricant and the organic, vegan friendly lubricant Sliquid Organic.
Moving on to the vibrator and masturbatory sleeve section of the SHRC inventory, I was intrigued to learn about the most powerful vibrator sold called The Magic Wand, which many clients come in specifically looking for, according to the SHRC staff.
Although not the most powerful of the selection, the Ahhh Vibe was described as the most popular vibrator sold, at the low price of $10. I was then reintroduced to what I thought was one of the more iconic items at the SHRC, the vibrating rubber ducky called I Rub My Duckie. This product was discontinued for a while, but is now actually on back order.
One of the more popular masturbatory sleeves is the Tenga Egg, which is a single-use sleeve and a perfect for a gift for yourself or a partner.
The dildo and anal play section followed. The dildos come in a variety of materials — glass, silicone and even metal. The benefits of both glass and metal are that they can be warmed up and cooled down while the benefit of silicone is that it’s easy to clean and sterilize. One thing to note about the silicone dildo with respect to anal play — whichever toy you decide to use should have a flared base to prevent entry into the GI tract, according to the SHRC staff. The butt plugs and anal beads sold both have a flared base for this purpose. Additionally, the strap-ons available are compatible with all the silicone dildos sold.
The next section introduced was the kink section. One of the most popular items in this section is the trick belt, designed to be a safer version of handcuffs. The belt is multi functional and can be used as handcuffs, ankle cuffs or a belt. As with all the products at the SHRC, this one is sold at the low price of $31.75, which is significantly cheaper than the $100 something you would most likely need to pay at a regular sex store. An alternate product I discovered in this section was the flogerella whip. The nice thing about this product is that it’s very delicate so it can be used for something gentle and playful like tickling all the way to a nice consensual spanking, whatever you’d like to use it for.
The final section described was the massage product section. The various items in this section included scented and flavoured body paint and massage oils. It’s important to remember that although these products work great to set the mood or as a nice gesture, any oil based products shouldn’t be used as lubricant as they will degrade condoms.
Although learning about each of the safe sex and sex toy products was a huge highlight of the experience, the most wonderful thing I learned was how much the SHRC prides itself on being extremely sex-positive and non heteronormative. Although students will inevitably choose to use these products in the way they and their partner desire, it’s nice to know there is so much versatility to how they can be used, making them accessible to everyone.
To finish off my trip to the SHRC I was given information about additional resources that the SHRC provides. The SHRC offers student referrals, information on matters related to sex, sexuality and health, a lending library, educational workshops and accompaniment services to the Women’s Clinic and the Sexual Assault/Family Violence Unit as well as STI testing.
I hope that sharing my experience at the SHRC will motivate others to use this incredible student resource.
The SHRC is located in the JDUC room 223 and more information involving services offered and details with regard to cleaning of products can be found at http://shrckingston.org/.
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