Playing nice with the SHRC

Why is it that so many people have reservations about their sexuality? Especially at this period in our lives, it’s perfectly normal to engage in intercourse, to masturbate, and find ways to satisfy ourselves. But when I mention my newest purchase from the Sexual Health Resource Centre, I’m often met with disgusted or ashamed expressions.

Yes, I masturbate. But I’m not ashamed of it. As Woody Allen said in Annie Hall, “Don’t knock masturbation—it’s sex with someone I love.”

There isn’t anything wrong with owning, or wanting to own a sex toy. My egg (a small, egg-shaped vibrator, attached to a battery pack) is immensely satisfying. I can declare that I’m proud to own one, and that I’m happy to be among the students who are making the transition to this form of sexual exploration, thanks to the SHRC.

Located in the upper-level of the JDUC in the clubs space, the SHRC is a safe and welcoming place for students to find sex toys, condoms, and information about safe, healthy sex. In addition, it provides resources about birth control methods and pregnancy options.

I discovered the SHRC through a close friend in second year. Although I was apprehensive at first, I began visiting the Centre earlier this year. On one occasion I was given the guided tour of every sex toy, condom and lube available at the Centre by a friendly Sexpert. The tour didn’t spawn awkward conversations, and I didn’t resort to a quick exit. Instead it was surprisingly comfortable, and gave me a breadth of knowledge of these ominous multi-coloured, multi-shaped objects sitting on shelves.

I left the Centre feeling accomplished—I had learned so much about how to enjoy the big O. The Centre has an assortment of sex toys, ranging from $5 to $50, including a mock-up of the famous Rabbit sex toy. A pack of eight regular latex condoms costs a mere $2 and female condoms are also just $2 a pop. All of their products are sold at cost, so they are significantly cheaper than ones you would find in an adult boutique or local drug store.

It took me a while, however, to warm up to the idea of actually purchasing something at the SHRC, aside from the ordinary condom. Purchasing a sex toy was a big step for me—I was ashamed of what people might think. For a long time, whenever I masturbated, I felt a strong sense of guilt. I thought that what I was doing had to stop, that it was something worthy of shame, and completely unnecessary. Much like nail biting, masturbation was a habit that had to be broken.

Thankfully I’ve gotten out of this mindset. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed self-gratification, and eventually came to accept that masturbation was a form of healthy sexual exploration.

I’m now in a healthy relationship that allows me to be comfortable with my sexual activities. I continue to meet people at Queen’s who share my values of sexual well-being. And I’ve made a trip to the SHRC to pick up my very own sex toy.

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