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UCSB program trains students to become dorm ‘sexperts’

Through student-fee funded program, ‘sexperts’ can distribute condoms, give BDSM tips

The University of California, Santa Barbara is enlisting students to teach their peers how to have sex, encouraging them to “become a sex-pert at your residence hall” and receive free contraceptives to hand out.

The “Safer Sex Peers Certification Training” is run by the UCSB Department of Health and Wellness, which is funded through student services fees.

Students enrolled in the program are trained on how to distribute contraception to their fellow classmates as well as how to dole out safer sex tips.

Topics “sexperts” are instructed on include “communication, gender, sexuality, pleasure, sex toys, STIs, hormonal contraception, and barrier methods,” according to the program’s website, which adds an additional one-hour training on “kink, BDSM, and sex toys” scheduled for winter quarter is required to maintain their certification.

“The training is four initial hours spread over two days with continuing education each quarter,” Joanna Hill, UCSB health education specialist, told The College Fix. “It educates students on the basics of holistic sexual health including information on communication, consent, contraception, reproduction, STIs, autonomy and agency over one’s own body, and safety.”

Hill said the “Safer Sex Peers” program was rolled out in 2019, but “some version of this has been going on for over 20 years.”

When asked about the graphic nature of some of the topics covered in the training, such as BDSM, Hill responded, “It is important to hold space for discourse on these topics so that if students choose to engage in these activities, they can make informed decisions that include health, safety, and consent.”

But some students said they feel their student funds should not be allocated to the program.

“I don’t want my tuition going to sex education,” UCSB freshman Rosy Hill told The College Fix. “We get enough of it in high school and my college tuition should not be going to this. It’s unnecessary and quite frankly, I disagree with it.”

Another student said they view it as a duplication of resources.

“Students can go to the local Planned Parenthood if they need contraception,” junior Oscar Ramirez said. “We as college students should not be paying for it.”

UCSB is not the only public university that offers dorm “sexperts.” University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill has offered a similar program in the past that relied on student fees.

For UCSB students who oppose the program, there does not appear to be an “opt-out” option, as students fees are built into current tuition rates.

MORE: The ups and downs of UCSB’s 22-year-old porn class

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About the Author
Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin -- University of California, Santa Barbara