Trampy, titillating or taboo? The many faces of sexuality showed themselves at CARE’s recent presentation and discussion entitled “Talk Sex,” a presentation of Loyolans’ views on sexual issues followed by a discussion as part of Sexual Assault Awareness week.
The evening began when presenters read aloud submissions about sex written by Loyola students for the event. Submitted confidentially through a Web site over the past weeks, the works ranged from prose and poetry to real-life experiences with sexual assault, feminism, sexual orientation, trust and even proper treatment of nipples.
“We all felt it was really important to have a comfortable environment to talk about sex,” CARE president sophomore Christa Heilman said, explaining that CARE’s own mission statement emphasizes educating the student body about sexual issues.
One presenter read from a humorous essay examining lying about sex, which said,”I lied to my boyfriend. He thinks he’s my first. He also thinks he’s good.” The same writer also bemoaned a double-standard in the animal world, complaining that dolphins have sex all the time and aren’t called sluts while some humans are helpless to escape such an onerous label. “[Expletive] dolphins,” she complained.
The presentations were also laced with more weighty themes, calling for an awareness and societal dialogue about sexual violence. All the essays’ authors were kept confidential to inspire a candid and open discussion. “Sexual assault is not a women’s issue. It is a societal issue,” one contributor wrote. “I find myself unable to trust men ? I didn’t think it could happen to me. I wish I had told someone,” wrote another author who related a story about a person in a position of authority taking advantage of her. Still others wrote poems talking to God, praising chastity from a spiritual perspective.
One memorable author chose to write candidly about his/her own sexual experiences, sometimes taking very outspoken and unconventional perspectives on such a hot topic. Sick of the “romance and rainbows and flowers, and the dating, waiting, hesitating game,” and arguing that sex can be a source of empowerment, one student shared.
In a moving and emotionally heavy moment, the same author shared, “If I hear one more person talk about ‘cherishing my special flower,’ I’m gonna flip [expletive]. If someone can come along and shove me into a car and take me out 20 miles and take my ‘special flower’ first with his penis and then with a knife, what does it matter? Once the deed is done, it’s done.”
Such an array of vibrant and personal stories from students walking this very campus on a daily basis proved that even at a Catholic university, sex does indeed exist and needs to be talked about in an open and respectful manner, which is one of the guiding opinions of the event organizers.
CARE then opened the floor to the students in attendance, encouraging people to share and discuss their own opinions. After some initial timidity, the audience, comprised of mostly females, soon seemed to really dig into the juicy topic at hand, expressing viewpoints and bouncing ideas off one another and taking interest in other’s viewpoints.
The discourse wound its way through topics like respect in relationships, opinions about abstinence-only education, the biology of the reproductive system and even the wildly popular “Sex and the City” before turning to more personal experiences.
Pornography arose as a main topic, with some taking opposing sides. While some students cheered for pornography, others such as senior Mauri Guillen felt otherwise. “As a proud feminist, I find [porn] the most degrading thing,” she said, which spurred another conversation about feminism and the portrayal of female sexuality in pop culture.
The CARE event coordinators felt that “Talk Sex” met all of their expectations, and they hope to make it into an annual event.
“I think it went really well,” Heilman said. “The discussion went well and I think we successfully created a comfortable environment.”
Though some may see such frank talk about sex as destructive to Catholic ideals about chastity, Heilman feels that the discussion supported many Jesuit values and quoted from the Loyola Jesuit Mission Statement which promotes “freedom of inquiry, even in the face of controversy or popularity, in the conviction that truth will emerge.”
“People came, so obviously sex is an issue on campus,” Heilman said.]]>