Let’s Talk About Sex… Education

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, the Womyn’s Resource Center (WRC), along with the health center, hosted their annual Sex Ed Boot camp. It was held at 7 p.m. in Thurston Hall and was open to anyone. 

The event was run by Joni Frater and Esther Lastique, who are both authors and sexologists. They were co-authors of the book “Love Her Right: The Married Man’s Guide to Lesbian Secrets for Great Sex.” They have also run other Sex Ed Boot camps at other institutions, such as the University of Illinois. 

Junior Peter Gaughan is an administrative assistant for the WRC. Gaughan said the event is more than about sex education. The boot camp also covered topics such as sexual health, sexual expression, consent, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

 “So the bootcamp wasn’t just how to be safe while having sex, but how to have sex in a way that leaves you feeling it was a worthwhile experience,” Gaughan said.  “It’s the parts of sex you don’t get in grade school.”

Gaughan said the event itself, as well as Frater and Lastique, were phenomenal. 

The low attendance allowed for more interaction with both Frater and Lastique. He described them as “hilarious, informative, inclusive and interactive.” Gaughan also commented on the attendance saying it was a little bit lower than past years. He said the group thought part of the problem was the location, as it is normally held in the Strebel Auditorium.

“We lost a week in the semester, so we were not able to promote it as much,” Gaughan said. “So that’s something we will take and moving forward, try and do a better job of maybe shifting it back into Strebel and reaching out to first-years and health study students.”

Gaughan said the presentation was great and said that this year there was more of a focus on gender, non-normative gender expression and sexual expression. He said it was informative for anyone no matter what their sexual education background is and there are three different ways that people learn about sexual education. They learn from their parents or guardians, from adult videos, or from Sunday school.

“Those are three very different experiences with very different levels of knowledge and that can get dangerous because the person going in very confident, can very quickly, not intentionally, can unintentionally steamroll someone else’s experience because they know what they’re doing and the other person doesn’t,” Gaughan said. “They said in the presentation that abstinence is a great choice if that’s what you want to do, but they are open to the fact that most people don’t pick that.”

Gaughan said everyone could learn something from the presentation, regardless if they are sexually active or not. The boot camp also involved things that not many people think about, such as positions that give the most pleasure or how to have consent in a group. He also said that the school could do a better job with attending events such as the Sex Ed Bootcamp. More events regarding sex education and body positivity are also in the works for this year.

“It’s such a core human thing that even if you’re not a sexual person, understanding how your body works, how your anatomy works, how your sexual expression works, is imperative to being able to interact with people in a healthy way and develop a healthy relationship,” Gaughan said.  “Not just with other people, but with yourself. I mean, loving yourself in the psychological sense is important, but also in the physical sense.”

Sophomore Timothy Kurucz is a volunteer for the WRC and agreed with Gaughan when he said that everyone has their own background with sex eduation. 

“I personally came from a very Catholic school background where that was not taught at all,” Kurucz said. “You come into college with all of that thrust upon you, and it could be a little scary, so it was nice to have Joni and Ester be there to kind of just lay the groundwork and even just little things you would not think of.”

Kurucz also said he believed that the event had something to do with the new grant that the college received last week; in order to help survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

“I think Joni and Ester, when they come around, they almost kick the college into gear and have them make some headway,” Kurucz said.  “The key thing is what we can do after this settles down. We will have sex education and body positivity events all throughout the year, and keeping that same energy and keeping committed to it is the most important thing.”

Senior Mya Pope is a programming intern for the WRC. She said that even though the attendance was low for this year’s bootcamp, it seemed to work out.

“With sex being a sensitive topic for some people, I feel like a smaller setting allowed them to be more comfortable in the long run,” Pope said. 

Pope said the information taught is fundamental to having a healthy sex life. However, Pope said she thought that advertising for the event could have been better.

“Sex education is very important for everyone, regardless if they are already sexually active, are planning on becoming sexually active, and even for those who aren’t planning on becoming sexually active,” Pope said. “It’s extremely important to know and understand how your body works in order to remain safe and healthy. Plus, it’s also helpful to know about STIs, since not all of them are spread sexually.”

Pope also believes that UC does a good job with promoting “safe sex,” but could do better with promoting “sex-education.”

“It would be cool to see posters or infographics that have general sex-education facts, along with tips to make sex better for everyone that’s involved in the act,” Pope said. “They could be hung up in resident halls, because I don’t think most people would read those posters if they were hung in academic buildings while they’re in a rush for class.”