The UConn Sexperts

Student Health and Wellness is home to The UConn Sexperts, a volunteer, peer education program composed of 5-15 highly dedicated students who are passionate about promoting sexual health on the UConn campus. 

The Sexperts mission is "to promote positive and responsible health to UConn students; respecting people’s individual choices and creating awareness of sexual health issues, including safer-sex strategies, sexually transmitted infections, contraception/birth control, sexual boundaries and consent, pleasure, and healthy decision making."

Presentations & Collaboration

Want to learn how you can support the mission of the UConn Sexperts and improve the sexual health of students on campus? There are several ways to connect with us. 

1.) Book a program or presentation for your club or organization!

The UConn Sexperts provide several educational programs and presentations for student groups. These presentations cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from safer-sex practices (i.e. condom use), birth control/contraception, decision-making, consent, pleasure, and more! Some of the groups we work with often include Greek Life, Residential Life, & cultural centers. For a list of our current offerings, and to book a program, visit the Student Health and Wellness program request form by clicking here.

2.) Collaborate with us on events, campaigns, and more!

Want to collaborate with us on an event, or consult us on a sexual health initiative or program your team is developing? We want to work with you! Send an email to sexperts@uconn.edu

3.) Reach out to us with your feedback!

Have questions about accessing sexual health resources on campus, or want to provide input on your experience with sexual health services on campus? Reach out to us at sexperts@uconn.edu! We're always looking for feedback so we can help improve sexual health services for UConn students.  For other questions about sexual health, consider filling out our "Ask the Sexpert" form for an anonymous response on our website!

Get Involved

We are currently recruiting new members for the Fall 2021 semester! Please feel free to fill out an application for consideration. Applicants must be available Mondays from 4pm-6pm during the Fall 2021 semester. Applications are open to first-year, second-year, and third-year undergraduate students. We are unable to accept students scheduled to graduate the semester after they apply. Please fill out the form below to apply!

For more information, please contact our supervisor, Cassy Setzler, at cassy@uconn.edu.


Want to join the UConn Sexperts? Here's some more information about the program commitments & requirements:

Commitments*

All students are required to dedicate a minimum of 8 hours of volunteer time a month, with additional hours throughout the semester, including mandatory attendance at:

  • 2-hour combined weekly all-Sexpert group meeting & committee meeting (meeting night changes each semester, typically Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening
  • At least 2 programming events a semester (more required for Program Development committee members)
  • 1 all-day Saturday training at the start of each semester**
  • 1 30 minute mid-semester meeting with the UConn Sexpert’s Supervisor

    Additionally, students may also have the opportunity to participate in various other activities, including:

    • Additional virtual/in-person programming
    • Attendance at the Involvement Fair, Block Party, Condom-a-thon, and Late Night events
    • Opportunity to present at regional conferences
    • Experience assisting with gloveBOX program

      *Added commitments are required for our three committee chair positions.

      **Currently not required because of in-person gathering restrictions.

      Apply to Become a UConn Sexpert!
      • Ex: she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, ze/zir/zirs, etc.
        Please choose year based on credits
      • Any information disclosed on this application that suggests a student may have experienced sexual harassment, assault, stalking or other interpersonal violence does NOT constitute notice to the University of Connecticut. Student Health and Wellness will typically will not share such information disclosed in connection with this application outside SHaW, unless there is an immediate safety risk or as otherwise required by law. However, if appropriate, a member of SHaW will provide information to the applicant on how to make an official report to the University as well as information concerning available on-campus and off-campus resources.
        Your answer does not affect your eligibility to be offered an interview or to become a UConn Sexpert.
      • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

      Ask the Sexperts!

      Sex can be hard to talk about! We’re here to make things easy by providing an anonymous and judgement-free space for you to ask any sex-related questions you have. All you have to do is fill out the form with your question, and we’ll do our best to answer your question on our website within the week (we will remove any identifying information before we post it publicly!)

      • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
      *Please note that this form is for educational purposes only, and not for individualized medical advice. We encourage all students with specific questions about their sexual health (i.e. are experiencing symptoms, are concerned about potential pregnancy/exposure to STIs, etc.) to make an appointment with a medical provider by clicking here.  If you are experiencing an emergency or mental health crisis, please call 911. This form will not trigger an immediate response. Additionally, submissions to this form do not constitute notice to the University regarding Prohibited Conduct under the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence. If you've experienced a sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, or intimate partner violence, we encourage you to seek support. If you'd like more information about support resources and reporting options, please click here. Remember, it is NOT your fault and you are NOT alone. 

      Ask the Sexperts! Q&A's

      Week of Sunday, May 2nd

      I've been seeing ads for a new birth control called "Phexxi" - what is it, and how does it work?

      How does the Galactic Cap work?

      The Galactic Cap is an experimental condom prototype. It fits on the head of the penis, and does not need to be rolled down - which leaves the shaft exposed to increase sensitivity. It's made of polyurethane film (so it doesn't contain latex), and has a skin-safe adhesive that wraps over the head of the penis. It has a reservoir that will catch semen, just like a typical condom. It is important to note that this product has not been tested by the FDA as use for a condom, and may not prevent pregnancy or reduce the likelihood of transmitting STIs, although it is currently in the process of testing.

      Week of Sunday, April 4th

      What is "ethical porn"?

      Ethical porn is pornography that is made in a sex-positive environment with conscious business practices for the creator, the performers, and the viewers. Ethical porn consumption includes paying for porn, tipping favorite workers, and/or using websites and companies that help decriminalize sex work.

      Other important practices include only viewing porn created or distributed by companies who hire sex workers that are of legal age, that have fully consented to the work being done for each video. Conscious business practices of ethical porn material also include creating safe working conditions, promoting pleasure for all, allowing performers more choice in who they work with, as well as fair pay for work. 

      Ethical porn consumption also leads to more diversity within the porn community, and supports, includes, and represents the LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and disabled sex worker communities. In the end, ethical porn consumption is something we all have to be actively aware of, and how we continue viewing porn affects the industry as a whole. While no one individual is solely responsible for the problematic trends in the mainstream porn industry (i.e racial stereotypes, normative beauty standards), we can all make a great difference together to break the patterns of mainstream porn consumption, by becoming more intentional and thoughtful about with the porn we watch.

      How can a female masturbate without touching or penetration?

      It’s possible to masturbate without touching intimate areas of your body if they’re something you’d like to avoid, even if it might seem difficult! There are many erogenous (sensitive to sexual stimulation) areas on the body besides the genitals, such as the nape of the neck, the nipples, and the ears, which can all provide gentle and arousing feelings if stimulated. Even they underarms can be an erogenous part of your body!

      Dancing while grinding on an object, self-massage, and breathing with intention are options for masturbation without touching or penetrating the genitals. Moving your body to get in touch with your sexual needs are all ways to masturbate and feed into the sexual connection that you have with yourself. These are a few options that we’ve found, but please feel free to continue researching and explore your body to know what you like best! 

      Week of Sunday, March 14th:

      I’m a female and have never masturbated before but want to try. Where is the best place to start?

      It’s great to want to explore your body! Masturbation is something that many people do for pleasure and to learn more about their bodies. People of all genders masturbate, and women masturbate as much as men do. However, there is an unfortunate amount of stigma and shame that is unfairly associated with women and femmes and pleasure. Please know that masturbation is completely normal and is a great way to be in tune with your own sexuality and learn more about what brings you pleasure.

      There are many great resources online on where to begin. Sexualbeing, based out of the Washington D.C. Health and Wellness Center,  has a great resource about how people with vaginas can approach masturbation for the first time. This includes things like setting the right mood, and what types of touch to start with.  Another article, by Healthline, provides different positions for masturbation people with vaginas can try here

      Sex toys are also a great way to start masturbating. For more about sex toys and how to get started, Flo’s article can help choose what toys are best for you! Sex toys allow our bodies to experience sensations that may not be able to be mimicked by our hands alone, and for those with vaginas and vulvas, there is absolutely no shame in using a toy to orgasm. Refinery29 has compiled their best list of sex toys here

      Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It takes time to understand your body and what pleases you. It should be a fun and stress free experience! Take your time and experiment with what works and feels best for you. As a note, many of these articles reference “female” masturbation - but are targeted towards people with vaginas or vulvas. Not everyone with a vulva or vagina identifies as a woman or female, so please keep that in mind.

      Week of Sunday, February 28th:

      Does SHaW offer Viagra or anything like that? I want to last longer during sex.

      Wanting to last longer during sex is completely valid! There are so many options out there to help people last longer during sex.

      First, Viagra is a medication meant for those who are unable to gain and/or hold an erection (not those who necessarily want to last longer). Viagra is a prescription medication, meaning that it is not available over-the-counter (OTC). If erectile dysfunction is a concern, you can schedule an appointment with a medical care provider to see if Viagra or a medication like it is right for you. Student Health and Wellness can fill prescriptions for Viagra or Cialis, but keep in mind they can only be filled by a SHaW Medical Care provider or by a UConn Health provider in Downtown Storrs. Another option is using services such as Forhims.com, which offers telehealth appointments where you can get prescriptions for erectile dysfunction and other sexual health concerns, and safer sex supplies. This is a great resource to use if you're looking for accessible care and supplies delivered right to your door! Keep in mind, that medications such as Viagra have side effects, so it’s important to discuss any concerns with a medical care provider.  

      Since you mention wanting to last longer during sex, there are other options to delay ejaculation too! Thicker condoms can reduce sensation slightly, which some people report can help delay ejaculation. Some numbing sprays and gels can also help reduce sensation. The main ingredient in numbing gels is typically lidocaine, a local anesthetic commonly used in dental settings. Another option is penis rings (a.k.a "cock rings") which wrap around the base of the penis to reduce blood flow throughout the shaft. This results in longer-lasting erections, as well as delayed ejaculations. There are many types of penis rings, including vibrating penis rings. The vibrations can also help slightly numb the penis, therefore causing one to last longer. However, the vibrations may cause some to be more sensitive, so definitely keep this in mind. Depending on your preferences, using sex toys like this can make sex more pleasurable, too! Try them out first and see what works.

      Additionally, the “pause-squeeze” method is a technique that can be performed during sex to help prolong ejaculation. When you feel like you need to ejaculate during sex, pull out of your partner and squeeze the tip of the penis for a few seconds. When the feeling of needing to ejaculate passes, continue having sex and repeat as needed. This method may take some practice and communication with your partner, but over time this may help train your body to last longer!

      Sunday, February 14th:

      How should students living on campus go about having safe sex with the no guest policy in residence halls?

      We understand that having sex can seem impossible these days, especially because of social-distancing and current guest policies in the residence halls. But there are plenty of options to have fun and keep yourself and your community safe in the process. If you or your partner lives in off-campus housing, it’s recommended to engage in any activity there, to avoid breaking the no-guest policy at the residence halls. 

      But if you and your partner(s) live in the residence halls, it may be wise to engage in non-physically partnered forms of sex, including video/phone sex (which can involve masturbation, with or without toys), for the duration of the semester. Sex outside of the residence hall, including in public locations and cars, while they may SEEM exciting, can carry some risk. These include issues with the law, as well as potential exposure to people that are not involved, which is a major consent violation! Take caution if considering this approach.  

      If you choose to engage in any sort of sexual activity, regardless of when and where, it is always important to continue practicing safer-sex, and use condoms, lubrication, and/or dental dams. To make sex even safer, you can even try positions in which you’re not facing your partner, to reduce the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19, or even try wearing a mask during sex (it might even spice things up a bit!)

      Week of Sunday, February 7th:

      Where can I get free condoms besides gloveBOX or going to the Rainbow Center? I currently live at home and can’t afford to purchase condoms.

      There are many places that offer free condoms and safer-sex supplies right in your hometown! Planned Parenthood  offers a variety of safer-sex supplies for free, and there are hundreds of locations in the U.S. Find a location near you by clicking here. You can also check out your local health department or doctor’s office, to see if they offer free supplies. Sometimes they’re located in baskets in the waiting room, but because of COVID, you’ll most likely have to ask directly, or call ahead.  If going to Student Health and Wellness for a medical appointment, you can ask your provider for free supplies as well. Some states also offer free online options, where local health departments or non-profit organizations will mail condoms in discreet packaging to your address!

      What is “vaginismus” and how can it be cured? What are some alternate things my partner and I can do besides sex (since it’s painful!)

      Vaginismus is the term used to describe persistent muscle spasms in the pelvic floor and vagina. Constant spasms can make penetration of any kind difficult, and can sometimes cause pain.  You should talk to your doctor for more specific advice about treatment, which may involve the use of vaginal dilators. In the meantime, there are plenty of sexual activities that you can engage in that doesn’t involve vaginal penetration! Mutual oral sex (a.k.a. “69”) involves giving and receiving oral-sex at the same time. This is a great option that is stimulating for all partners, that does not require any vaginal penetration (although can include it). Other activities, such as external mutual masturbation, using external sex toys/vibrators, and anal sex are all other options that don’t involve vaginal penetration and may be more comfortable!

      As a reminder, we are not medical professionals and any health concerns regarding vaginismus should be consulted with a trusted healthcare professional. You can make an appointment with one of Student Health and Wellness’s medical care providers by calling 860-486-4700.

      Can a guy's physiological response affect how a woman feels?

      While we’re not 100% sure what the physiological response in question is, what we CAN say is that everyone reacts differently to any type response (whether it be physical or verbal), regardless of gender.  To understand how your partner(s) feels either physically or emotionally, it’s important to communicate!  Open-minded and honest communication can  help you learn and understand how everyone involved is feeling, what their likes and dislikes are, and can even be a bonding experience. For some helpful tips for talking to a partner about sex, click here!