Say yes to positive sex education

Photograph Courtesy of Suzanne Angermeier

Sophia DiBattista

sodibattista@ursinus.edu

     The Campus Activities Board (CAB) held their annual Sex Toy Bingo event on Friday, Feb. 16 in Lower Wismer. The night contained fun, excitement, and various “naughty” prizes. It was also informative in promoting sexual education and awareness While CAB sponsored the event alone this semester, in the past it has been co-sponsored with the now defunct student-run group Students Talk About Responsible Sex (STARS).

     CAB Co-Presidents Nicole Kosar and Jessica Taddeo commented on the event: “Sex Toy Bingo started four years ago because one of our previous executive board members thought it was funny. It’s an event we do every year, and it is our second largest event of the entire school year.”

     Regarding Sex Toy Bingo’s popularity, Kosar and Taddeo said, “Students get excited about it because they have the chance to win quality sex toys and it’s a fun, friendly, and unusual bingo event to go to with friends.”

     Before the game began, CAB members passed out condoms with bingo cards. Kosar and Taddeo said, “We ordered 150 condoms to give out to each person who played, and we invited the Peer Advocates to come promote safe sex and awareness.”

     The message CAB pushed with the event promotes both responsible gameplay and safe sex, and the co-presidents claimed the event “breaks the taboo of talking about sex at a liberal arts college level,” which was part of the mission of the former co-sponsor STARS.

     According to Megan Burns ’18, previous co-president of STARS, “STARS would partner with CAB for Sex Toy Bingo to create a positive environment in which sexual health was at the forefront. The idea was to promote sex positivity in an engaging and fun way without making anyone feel uncomfortable or inferior. Events such as these help to get students thinking about sexual health practices.”

     Robin Gow, former member of STARS, explained that “STARS started as ‘Students Together Against Rape’ and changed its name in 2014 to ‘Students Talk About Responsible Sex,’ [making it] STARS. [The group] focused on sex education from a sex positive perspective. The original STARS served the purpose that Peer Advocates serve now.”

     STARS started as a group that “would run discussions based on certain topics about sex and we would just talk about it … then a lot of members graduated and we didn’t really get new members so the discussions didn’t happen anymore,” said Burns.

     According to Burns, Anna Kozitzky ’16 was the former president of the organization. When she left  she was replaced by Carter Timon, ’17 until Burns and Ryan Vega ’18 took over as co-presidents. Eventually the organization died out.

      “Students like me who were supposed to help take it over were too involved in other groups. Ultimately, there were too few of us running the group, and it died off as a club,” said Gow.

     “STARS focused on intimate conversations. I felt very liberated to have a space to talk about sex so openly,” stated Gow. Gow wishes that a new “sex positive group” that “celebrates and explores sexuality” would become part of the campus.

     Said  Gow, “While sex is related to GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) and Feminists in Action topics, I think specifically a sex positive group is crucial as a space to promote sexual curiosity as well as taking steps to better understand consent. We can’t understand consent if we don’t talk about the nitty gritty of sex acts.”

     Gow added, “Not talking about sex (the act and the specifics) does not help the cause of assault education.”

     “The hope is that [STARS will] come back when there is a greater interest in sexual health discourse on campus,” said Burns.

     While STARS is no longer a part of campus life, the college still has resources to assist in sexual education, according to Jessica Oros, Prevention and Advocacy Educator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Oros said, “The Wellness Center is currently the primary office for conversations around sex education. Peer Advocates provide workshops and programs focusing on the importance of consent when engaging in sexual activity.”

     “Students should reach out to the Wellness Center if they have any questions about sex education,” said Oros.

     Students are encouraged to ask questions about sexual education and take advantage of the resources on campus to learn more about the topic by contacting Jessica Oros at joros@ursinus.edu or the Wellness Center at wellness@ursinus.edu. If a student would like to bring back STARS or create a new club about sexual education, they should contact the Student Activities office via email at studentactivities@ursinus.edu or call 610-409-3608.