Amy Baldwin of Pure Pleasure with a tube o' lube. Photo by Chip Scheuer.
If Santa Cruz were a person, she’d be making her way through the Kama Sutra and have the best condom collection ever. Here are some helpful local resources for everybody’s favorite pastime.
The Condom Co-op (UCSC Student Health Center, lower level, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. 831.459.3772) The student-run Condom Co-Op is the place to score condoms that won’t break without breaking the bank. They’ve got it all—Japanese-made, glow-in-the-dark, ribbed for her pleasure, non-latex (prices range from 2 for 25 cents to $1.50 each), accoutrements like lube and dental dams, and a brochure with step-by-step instructions and tips(!) for use (e.g., did you know oil-based products like whipped cream, chocolate syrup and petroleum jelly can degrade latex?). The co-op roams campus at all hours of the day and night, but it has a permanent residence at the student health center.
The Diversity Center (1117 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.425.5422) Santa Cruz’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community comes together at the Diversity Center. The walk-in center on Soquel welcomes LGBT individuals and allies to hang out in the garden or peruse the lending library with its 2,000-plus titles. Get on the “What’s Happening” email listserv to keep abreast of events going on around town, from performances by queer artists swinging through town to ongoing events like gay men’s volleyball, LGBT professionals’ mixer and the monthly Bi-friendly Potluck.
Pure Pleasure (204 Church St, Santa Cruz. 831.466.9870) If your back-to-school supplies list includes toys, oils, lubes, costumes, clips, clamps, whips and swings, then your first stop should be the downtown pleasure shop where there is an entire section devoted to eco-friendly toys for (carbon) guilt-free sex. Classes for the curious include “College Bondage,” a free one-hour seminar designed specifically for the student on a shoestring (get it?) budget. Also on the schedule this fall: Beginning Burlesque (Sept. 21), Give Me a Hand: The Art of Erotic Fisting (Oct. 6), Art of the Lap Dance (Oct. 12) and Tantra (Nov. 1).
Planned Parenthood (1119 Pacific Ave. Suite 200, Santa Cruz. 831.426.5550) The Westside Health center, as our local Planned Parenthood is known, offers low-cost reproductive health services—annual exams, pap smears, STD testing, birth control, emergency contraceptives, pregnancy testing and abortion services. Come in for a check-up and walk away from the clinic with your choice of 12, 24 or 48 condoms for the low, low price of free. Tip: Bring along some reading material—even with an appointment, waits can be on the long side.
Susie Bright (SusieBright.blogs.com) Sex-positive sexpot and local treasure Susie Bright (a.k.a. Susie Sexpert) is the longtime editor of The Best American Erotica series. Bright, who also penned a sex advice column, “The Bright Spot,” with her daughter Aretha for the website Jezebel, has taught classes in the Community Studies department at UCSC and wrote about Santa Cruz in her memoir Big Sex, Little Death. These days it’s possible to catch her giving a book talk or erotic memoir-writing workshop, or via her podcast “In Bed With Susie Bright.”