Talk sexy to me: College redefines sex

This past week, Women in Learning and Leadership hosted Redefining Sex Week, where speakers, panels, movies and games were all provided to educate and entertain students. The week was co-sponsored by VOX, the Women’s Center, Prism, the women’s and gender studies department and Triota. Throughout the week, many events were held where students could learn and discuss various topics that, to some, may seem too taboo to talk about.

On Monday, Nov. 26, a student panel discussed the hook-up culture in the Women’s Center. As an ice breaker, students had to name their favorite term for sex. Terms such as “smoosh,” “sideways tango,” to “screw” and “boom boom” were said, instantly creating a more relaxed atmosphere. Many people spoke during the panel, discussing their own experiences and questioning some topics.

The panel started off by determining what “hook-up” means to some. According to the panel, a hook-up is a way for “ambitious young women to dip into relationships without disrupting her self-development or school work.” The panel discussed how the term “hook-up” is ambiguous in what it really means and many talked about instances when they were unsure of how to classify the term. Whether the hook-up culture is empowering for women was also discussed. Students felt that the hook-up culture was male driven, especially with fraternity parties. Also, hooking up provides the space between dating.

It was also discussed how hooking up is more acceptable at larger schools and how some here at the College do not feel comfortable discussing it with their friends. One student said that she felt she was being policed by her friends after she told of a hook-up.

Students explore their sexuality during the College’s Redefining Sex Week. (Lianna Lazur / Staff Photographer)

“I really enjoyed hearing people talk about something that normally isn’t dinner table conversation and having strong opinions on those topics as well,” said junior special education and women’s and gender studies double major Bre Maughan.

Also on Monday was a lecture by Jennifer Miller from Planned Parenthood discussing how to talk to doctors about sex. A sex trivia game night completed the day.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Nelson Rodriguez lead a discussion in the Library Auditorium. Rodriguez discussed the Gay for Pay industry. According to Rodriguez, “Gay for Pay describes male/female actors, pornographic stars or sex workers who self-identify as heterosexual,” but star in homosexual films. He showed three clips, two from the “Tyra Banks Show” and one from the trailer of the film “The Fluffer,” an “interesting fiction-type film that takes up this issue for Gay for Pay,” according to Rodriguez. He discussed whether these Gay for Pay actors were accepted into the gay community. On the “Tyra Banks Show,” it was heavily debated.

“It was an interesting presentation because you realize the similarities between straight and gay relationships,” said Valerie Gold, sophomore business major and member of WILL.

Sophomore women’s and gender studies and elementary education double major Mark Fagan also added, “It was informative and interesting to see that there is a great acceptance for Gay for Pay people being part of the gay community. I wouldn’t have thought that originally.”

Also on Tuesday was the SAF-funded discussion with sexologist Jill McDevitt on “How to Feel Sexy Naked.” Many attended this event and learned that sexy comes in all different shapes and sizes. An activity was held where students had to strongly agree, agree, remain neutral, disagree or strongly disagree about features about themselves. These included whether they wished they had a flatter stomach, worried about their thighs or ever had a bad hair day. The activity allowed the students to realize that everyone has insecurities about themselves.

In addition, McDevitt showed students pictures of women of all ages posing naked, not in a derogatory way, but in a very simplistic way. Also, by the end of the presentation, students had to write down what they found sexy about themselves, as well as what they found sexy about the person sitting two chairs away from them. This proved to be a very emotional activity as some revealed what they find sexy about their friends. The activity was designed so that everyone could see that everyone is sexy in their own way and one should not be jealous of others or put others down.

McDevitt told the audience that she “stopped judging other women once I stopped using other women as oppression. I started to feel better about myself.”

Sophomore interdisciplinary business major Samantha Kaplan said, “I thought it was really interesting, especially about the desexualization of nudity. It’s something that you assume is extremely scandalous. Looking at the pictures in a different light shows how much power the media has on people.”

Other activities for this week included a discussion on whether porn is empowering, exploring LGBTQ relationships, a screening of the movie “Trans,” and talks about healthy relationships and sexual violence.

Sophomore WILL member and women’s and gender studies and sociology double major Sara Von Bartheld said, “I thought that this week was awesome because it had fun events and it encouraged healthy female sexuality. It definitely got its point across and a lot of people went out to it.”