On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) held its first event “Sex in College” in the Living and Learning series.
Over 20 students gathered to have an open discussion on sexual education and sex in college. The WRC was at capacity as students occupied every couch, chair and square inch of the floor.
Before the discussion began, attendees chatted while listening to music and coloring pages which revealed empowering phrases such as “you have the right to be safe” and “you chose what to do next.”
Sam Saucier, one of the leading forces in the center’s reopening, guided the event’s conversation. The questions posed touched on topics such as: what things they wished had been taught in high school sex education, what they learned since coming to college and what advice they wish they could share with their younger selves.
As a plush herpes microbe was tossed around the room, students had the ability to safely discuss their experiences and opinions. Every student had equal opportunity to speak their mind, and frequently their thoughts were received by a chorus of snapping, the group’s sign of approval.
The group dispelled many myths pertaining to sex and women’s health. When asked about their sex-ed experiences, whether it was comprehensive, non-existent or anything in between, the responses were all a variation on dissatisfaction.
“Many people feel that their sex education, or lack thereof, has failed to prepare them for life. We hope to fill some of those gaps in education through honest and comprehensive sex ed that de-stigmatizes and normalizes discussion of healthy sexuality,” Saucier said.
However, sex isn’t always the easiest thing to discuss. Many students shared openly about their desire for better communication skills in regards to sex, and about the experiences that made it difficult for them.
“The Sex in College event was designed to generate open discussion about sexual health and sexuality by and for college students. College is a unique time and space where a lot of change can take place, and sex is no exception to that,” Saucier said.
“I feel like the WRC is a great addition to campus, for sure,” Angela Rideout, a second-year nursing student who attended the event, said. “It only makes sense that there’s a place on campus where women can go if they ever need a little extra medical or emotional support. It was a great experience hearing other women’s opinions on topics like sex education in high schools. This isn’t a topic that I’ve considered too much, but the conversation we had definitely made me realize that certain types of reform are needed.”
“At the WRC we create educational programming based off of what we feel is most needed in the community,” Saucier said.
With these series, the WRC hopes to create a judgment-free environment where students can come to ask the questions they might be too uncomfortable to ask each other. Based on the attendees’ comfort with sharing their stories and questions, they seem to have succeeded.
The next WRC event will be a clothes swap held on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Coe Room of the Memorial Union. The center’s doors are open every weekday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering students information on sexual health, a range of resources and a safe space.