Archive for the ‘Sense Project’ Category

Volunteer Opportunities: Sense Project!

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The Sense Project is our cutting edge, harm-reductive and queer/sex/trans-positive peer-based sex education program. Here are two ways to get involved and support the Sense Project:

If you want a one-time, quick ‘n’ dirty thing, go with SERVE!

  • SERVE is our 8th annual charity beach volleyball tournament which raises money for the Sense Project. This year we want to raise $50,000!
  • Unique opportunity to share our holistic vision of youth empowerment and wellness with Montrealers at large on a fun & sexy day.
  • July 28th 2013 at Jeanne Mance Park (Sunup to Sundown).
  • We need 60 volunteers for a variety of jobs (Scorekeepers, Barkeepers, Security, Servers, BBQers, Runners etc).
  • For more information or to sign up, please contact Shanice at intern.headandhands@gmail.com or at 514-481-0277.

If you’ve got some stamina and want to commit to a year of fun times with peers and sex ed, go with SENSE!

  • The Sense Project was created in response to the 2005 education reform in Quebec which removed sexual education from the high school curriculum.
  • We are looking for Sense Animators under 25 who will facilitate sex ed workshops with youth in high schools.
  • This is a year-long commitment in addition to a mandatory 35 hour training in September.
  • The deadline to apply is Monday July 29th at 10:00 AM.
  • To apply to be a Sense Animator or to get more details about the position, check out the details and find the downloadable form here.

We’re Hiring: Sense Project Summer Research Assistant

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Head & Hands is a non-profit community organization dedicated to youth empowerment. We offer health, social, legal and recreational services to youth between 12 and 25 years of age.

Description: The Sense Project summer research assistant will work with Sense Project Coordinator and youth volunteers to coordinate the revision the Sense Project Peer Educator Manual. Their main tasks will include coordinating volunteers, revising the manual, managing manual printing and distribution of both digital and hard copies. The manual will be used for the Sense Project’s peer educator training in September and as a reference document for future workshops on sexuality and sexual health. The Sense Project summer research assistant will also create a structured filing system to organize old and new resources and reference documents for the Sense Project. This is a six-week full-time contract, with an ideal start date of June 10th.

The ideal candidate is bilingual, open-minded, reliable, organized, flexible, autonomous, has knowledge on sexuality and good writing & editing skills (in either French and/or English). Basic computer knowledge, experience in research and understanding of youth culture are assets.

Eligible candidates MUST have been a full-time student last semester, with the intention of returning to school full-time in the fall.

Application deadline is Friday May 24th 2013, at 10 a.m. To apply, send CV and cover letter via email to healthed@headandhands.ca with “Attn: Sense Project hiring Committee” in the subject line, or bring a hard copy to 5833 Sherbrooke West.

Head & Hands welcomes the unique contributions that individuals from traditionally marginalized communities bring to the organization, and invites these individuals to apply. We encourage applicants to describe in their cover letter the unique contributions that they, as individuals with diverse experiences, would bring to Head & Hands.

Please direct all questions to Gabrielle at 514-481-0277 or by email at healthed@headandhands.ca.

We thank you in advance for your interest. Only those who are selected for an interview will be contacted.

Serve is Back!

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serve

Beyond volleyball with balls: the sex ed relay race!

The eighth annual Serve tournament is making its glorious return on July 28th 2013!!! Get your game on for social change!! This funtastic day of volleyball gathers the bar and restaurant community in Montreal for a volleyball competition in support of the Sense Project, Head & Hands’ peer-based sexual education program offered to Montreal’s youth. It is extremely well attended and so much fun; last year we had 30 teams and raised an amazing $41,000! Come show us your support and grab a beer, some fresh air, or some food, or take part in the myriad of activities on site. We’re so stoked!!

Ask Anything: Seal

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How to break seal of a girl??

This is a question that we often get in classroom workshops, and it’s great that we got this as a web question because there are a lot of myths circulating about this topic.

I’m assuming that by “seal,” you’re referring to the hymen, which is a membrane surrounding the vaginal opening. This membrane tends to wear out as one gets older, through day-to-day activities like walking, playing sports, horseback riding, or masturbation, all of which can reduce the size or consistency of the hymen. To make sure that you have a good visual, in a vast majority of cases, hymens are not like a glass window that has to be broken, but more like a donut or a large spider web.

So, by the time somebody with a vagina decides to have (vaginal) penetrative sex for the first time there are often already openings in their hymen. We often attribute the bleeding during first vaginal penetration to the “breakage” of the hymen, and that’s often what we mean when we say someone has “lost their virginity”. However, the hymen is not the seal of virginity. More often than not, the cause of bleeding during the first penetration(s) is less the hymen itself and more other factors like stress and/or not knowing yet what works for your body. This combination will probably make your body tense and your vagina less lubricated, which can make penetration harder or more painful, and could cause some bleeding. Some ways to counter this would be by letting yourself take your time and figure out what feels right for you, communicating openly with your partner(s) about the process, and having plenty of lube on hand to use…and even after your first few times, lube can be one of your best partners whenever you’re having sex. You can always get safer sex supplies, including lube, for free at Head & Hands!

Ask Anything: Unprotected oral sex – HIV contraction?

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I was getting oral sex from a sex worker. I am really worry about HIV contraction. Please let me know regarding this issue.

I’ll do my best to answer your question, but I’m missing some details that would let me give you a truly accurate response on the risk level for your situation.

Assuming you’re stressed because you didn’t use a barrier (condom or dental dam) when getting oral sex, I can tell you that the HIV transmission rate during unprotected oral sex is not high. There is a risk of contraction for you, but it’s low. Regarding unprotected oral sex, I would be more concerned with the Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Herpes contraction, because the transmission of these STIs can be from a skin-to-skin contact.

The best way to lower your anxiety would be to get tested for these STIs.  Something to have in mind before getting tested is that STIs have what’s called a window period. A window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is contagious, but is not yet detectable by a test. For example, Chlamydia’s window period is 3 to 10 days, but HIV’s window period is 3 to 6 months.

This means that if you’ve had sex and are worried about having contracted HIV, you have to wait at less 3 months after the sexual incounter that is worrying you to get an accurate test result. In most cases, the test will be accurate after 3 months, but to be sure, it’s important to get tested after 6 months as well.

You can always get tested for HIV (and other STIs) at the Head & Hands medical clinic on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. In the meantime, I would recommend that you use condoms and/or dental dams to make sure that you and your partners are protected.

Ask Anything: Squirt Versus Urine

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When I masturbate with a showerhead, I squirt. Is that urine or real squirting? It’s never yellow.

Masturbation with a showerhead is a great thing, but in the case of your question it complicates my answer! I’m assuming that you’re masturbating with the water spray, which means there’s a lot of water involved, all around your body and possibly inside your vagina. This makes it harder to distinguish the color, consistency, and quantity of liquid that comes out of your body when you masturbate.

 What I can say is that typically people don’t (involuntarily) pee when they’re having sex alone or with somebody else. Here are some things to consider in your personal investigation of the ejaculate-versus-urine question: Often, before squirting you can feel a tingling sensation similar to what you feel when you’re about to pee…but you won’t pee. If you keep going beyond that tingling sensation and ejaculate, try to find a way to look at the liquid that comes out. That’s where the shower context makes it hard investigate. In any case, the ejaculate liquid shouldn’t smell like pee; it’s more likely to be fragrance free or to smell like your vaginal fluid when you’re aroused. As for consistency, it’s closer to water and vaginal fluid than male ejaculate; it’s more liquid. Finally, the color should be on the scale of clear to white rather than yellow like urine. Good luck with your investigation!

Ask Anything: When to get tested?

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Do you have to get tested after every time you have sex? If not, how often?

I wouldn’t recommend getting tested after every time you have sex. First off, for some people or at certain times in a person’s life, this would mean getting tested many times a week…which could be time consuming! Secondly, and most importantly, there is a technical aspect related to getting accurate test results.

A lot of STIs have what’s called a “window period”. This relates to the amount of time between the transmission of the STI (when someone is infected) and when a medical test would be able to detect the STI. To state it simply, the window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is totally contagious, but is still undetectable by a test.  For example, Chlamydia’s window period is 3 to 10 days, but HIV’s window period is 3 to 6 months. This means that if you’ve had sex and are worried about having contracted HIV, you have to wait 3 to 6 months to get accurate test results (in most cases, the test will be accurate after 3 months but to be sure, it’s important to get tested after 6 months as well).

So in general, when you are sexually active, you should get tested for STIs every 6 months even if you use protection – that way, you cover all the window periods of the different tests. People sometimes choose to get tested every year, or even less often, if they have one partner and they’ve agreed on a monogamous relationship.

You can also download are bilingual STIgma Zine to get more information on different STIs, safer sex and communication with partners about these things!

Ça Marche 2012: The Movie

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In classic Head & Hands fashion, we present our annual Ça Marche dance video for your viewing pleasure!

If you helped us reach our Ça Marche goal this year by giving your time, money, or your moves…well, this one’s for you!

Special thanks to Carol Fernandes and Jess Lee, the super-star volunteers who filmed and edited and made this video as glorious as it is! And to our dancers…we couldn’t do it without you!

Ask Anything: Inverted Nipples

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Do you think inverted nipples will turn a guy off in bed or when hooking up?

I wouldn’t stress too much about this! First off, there is nothing wrong with having inverted nipples. A lot more people then you may think have them, simply because anybody who has nipples can have an inverted nipple. This can mean something different for everyone, because each person’s nipples will react differently to stimulation. Let’s say that when you’re hooking up with someone, your breasts get rubbed or sucked. In many cases, this can bring out your nipples, so it may not even show that your nipples are inverted.

But what if you are naked in front of someone and they notice that you have inverted nipples…and that person makes a comment about them? You can explain that you have “shy nipples” and that this doesn’t change anything about your physical enjoyment; it’s just the way you are made. Also, we are taught that there is just one way, or at least just one good way, that a body should look. In general the representation of breasts and nipples in the media is: perfectly round, firm, perky, symmetrical, full (at least a C cup), with a small and soft pink areola/nipple and a permanently erect nipple. At least 90% of the population doesn’t have breasts that fit this description.

As for your question about turning guys off, I’d say that attitude is key. This is your body; own it! And of course, if the person you’re with doesn’t appreciate your body, then maybe they don’t deserve to be seeing it.

Welcome (back) Sensies!

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Class photo, 2012-2013 animators / Photo de classe, animateurs-trices de l’année 2012-2013

We are so excited to have 18 new and returning Sense animators! Sensies are the bedrock of our peer-to-peer sex education program. After 30 hours of training in fall, they spend the academic year pairing up and going into high schools across Montreal to give holistic, non-judgemental, and youth-centred workshops on safer sex.

This was Health Educator Gabrielle’s first time running training since being hired in May, and it was her co-coordinator Robin’s first time, too! Embracing the spirit of newness and change, they took this opportunity to revisit the training manual and workshop offerings. Traditionally three workshops, the standard Sense series is expanding to include a fourth workshop, which will be piloted in some schools in the next couple months!

Animators this year also delved deep into the Head & Hands approach, discussing and reflecting on sexuality from many different perspectives, thanks to the many external facilitators to contributed to training. Some things never change, though: as always, one favorite part of training was the food! Delicious eats were contributed by a number of Montreal locals, including Cafe Touski, Burritoville, Upstairs Jazz Bar, Nouveau Palais, The People’s Potato, and Midnight Kitchen.

As always, we invite YOUR school or community group to get in touch about booking workshops! We can do them in English or in French, and can provide harm reductive, non-judgemental drug education workshops in addition to our sex ed offerings. If we don’t already have a workshop or presentation that fits the bill, we can often create one that meets your health or sexuality needs! Just email Gabrielle at healthed@headandhands.ca.