Today kicks off Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) at UC Berkeley! SHAW is a super sexy and sex positive event held each fall semester that uses fun, games, and humor to promote awareness of sex, sexuality, and sexual health issues and concerns.
SHAW’s theme this year is Birds Do It. Bees Do It. Bears Do It. As many of my readers know, I have been working super hard with a group of sex positive librarians to put on a sex ed exhibition, Birds Do It. Bees Do It: A century of sex (mis) education in the USA. I thought I’d be clever and plan SHAW to happen simultaneously with the official exhibition opening reception on Wednesday, October 1st. It doesn’t hurt that I’m one of the featured speakers at the reception. I’m just saying…
This year’s event will not disappoint. Wednesday, October 1st, 11:30 – 4:30pm, is our main event on Memorial Glade! There will be several tables with sexual health information, educational games with sexy prizes, and opportunities for you to share what you would like to see as far as sexual health education on the UC Berkeley campus. The infamous SHEP penis will be out in full erect – I mean effect – ready to pose for pics with you and your friends. Free safer sex supply samples will be available. Community partners such as the Center for Sex and Culture, Good Vibrations, and STD Triage will be there. Check out what else we’ve scheduled for you:
9/29 – 10/3 Daily: Random Acts of Sexiness. Our lovely Sex 101: Topics in Sexual Health as well as our Sex and Disability decal students will be all over campus offering fellow bears condoms…Roll on you bears! For times and exact locations check fb.com/SHEPSexperts.
9/29 Monday: Student Sexual Health Educator Panel. Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) Sexperts will be sharing a little about why they do what they do and answer questions from those of you considering doing it too. Pun so intended. Cum join us in 83 Dwinelle from 6:30-7:30.
9/30 Tuesday: Student Sex and Disability Panel – Are Cripples Screwed? If you want to know the answer and learn more about sex and disability you’ll have to come to the panel! This sexy panel is going down at the Tang Center in the Class of ’42. We’re not too far for sexy people to come!
10/1 Wednesday: Professional Sexual Health Educator Panel. Panelists include Carol Queen from the Center for Sex and Culture & Good Vibrations; Nicole G. from Huckleberry; and Tang Center Health Educators, Alicia Harris for sexual assault prevention and me, the Sex Goddess, representing college sexual health and Black sexual health! This is a great event and opportunity for any bears who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of sexual health education and/or who would simply like to chat with leaders in the field and learn more about sex, sexuality, and sexual health from various professional perspectives. This sexy panel will be 6:30 – 7:30 in 102 Latimer.
Before this sexy panel begins, don’t forget to stop by the opening reception of Birds Do It, Bees Do It… to hear about the evolution of sexual health (mis)education from History Professor, Thomas Laqueur, Dr. Malcom Potts, and me your campus Sexologist and Sex Goddess. The reception will be held in the Morrison Library in Doe Library, Wednesday, October 1st , 4:30-6pm. Light refreshments, sexy talk, and sexhibition!?! It gets no better! Certainly hope to see you there! Until next time…
Keep it safe and sexy,
Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess
Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.
Growing up in a religious Catholic family, there weren’t a lot of conversations about consent and sexual activity. In fact, the only conversation about sex at all was a one-note repeat: DON’T. When I hit puberty, my mom stuck a sticker on the bathroom mirror: “8 Ways to Say No to Sex”. The list included such gems as “just walk away” (whaaa?) and “change the subject”; actions that would guarantee no second date, since your companion would clearly think you were nuts. (I spent a lot of time in high school hoping none of my visiting friends would need to use our bathroom.)
The message was clear at my Catholic school as well: nice girls don’t. There was no space for good, sexy feelings; no acknowledgement of your agency to explore your own body; and always the sense that it was up to the girls in the room to, as we were once memorably told, “keep our knees together.” All conversations about consent between us and The Boys were to end one way: with a firm NO. (In this universe, of course, same-sex sex wasn’t even acknowledged.)
This brings me, in a roundabout way, to the whole idea of enthusiastic consent, and why I wish it had been there in that impoverished, crappy little Catholic school when I was learning about the wide world of adult sexual life. Enthusiastic consent is the concept that you do not move ahead with initiating sexual activity while waiting for a potential sexual partner to say “no” — rather, you pause, seek an enthusiastic “yes!” and respect that anything less means the activity in question is off the table.
Would this idea have actually made a difference to me, growing up in my little hometown? My friend, it would have made ALL the difference. It starts with the revolutionary thought that sexual activity is something to actually be ENJOYED, rather than endured (question to the nuns: if you keep telling girls that sex is something they endure, how can they even tell if they are consenting or not?). Enthusiastic consent includes the notion that sex is something created in the moment between happily consenting adults. It’s not an atomic bomb dropped onto your ever-vulnerable female “reputation”, nor is it a dreaded but necessary task for producing the next generation of miserable, guilt-riddled adults. It’s something you create right then, between you. Which is another reason it would have rocked my teenage world: the idea that sex isn’t something that girls give, and boys take, but rather an activity between equals, brought into being at that moment by each of your desires, needs, likes and dislikes. It’s not a one-time exchange of goods: you don’t hand sex over to the other person. You make it together.
My dear, I am here to tell you that this idea has magic in it. It has the potential to revolutionize how many, many people look at sex, and look at potential sexual partners. The world needs this. Won’t you do your part to bring sex out of the shadows and into the sunshine? I hope for your enthusiastic “Yes!”