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Sex positivity seminar promotes healthy sexual attitudes

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Hosted by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, Wednesday’s seminar “Taking the ‘Boo’ out of ‘Taboo’: Sex Positivity” examined how society defines and confines sexuality.

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Priscilla Gardea, senior admissions counselor at Adams State University and Emily Ambrose, senior coordinator for the SLiCE Office at Colorado State University, created the sex positivity seminar for a college course in which students planned out a curriculum on the topic of gender.

The sex positivity seminar displays various books, films and postcards about sexuality. Photo by Katie Schmidt.
The sex positivity seminar displays various books, films and postcards about sexuality. (Photo credit: Katie Schmidt)

“It is important to have someone to have sex positive conversations with,” Gardea said. “Sex brings people joy and it is a gift we share with each other.”

Gardea and Ambrose emphasized creating a judgment-free zone of various sexual acts and interests, using the phrase, “Don’t yuck my yum.”

Gardea and Ambrose first had participants come up with a definition for sex positivity, which does not simply mean enjoying sex. Instead, they stressed that sex positivity upholds non-judgmental and positive attitudes about sexuality. The participants talked about examples of sex positivity, which include: not being ashamed of sexuality, consent from all parties, loving your body, open education and stopping slut-shaming.

While generating sex positive characteristics, participants discussed various views of sexuality that society upholds.

Gardea explained the double standard of “virgin and slut” in which women are expected to have both virginal and sexually experienced characteristics.

Ambrose discussed the concept of sex being dirty. She said that while the act itself can be messy, sex does not make a person have a dirty reputation.

Ambrose then discussed how to decrease the taboo of sexuality.

“Communication is important,” Ambrose said. “Consent with enthusiasm and safe sex with full disclosure and an open dialogue.”

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Participants then generated words associated with a sex positive lifestyle, such as consent, acceptance, self-disclosure, sex toys, respect and masturbation.

In contrast, participants came up with words that uphold a sex negative lifestyle, particularly words that describe a woman’s sexuality, such as body euphemisms (words that adults use to describe genitalia to children), whore, tramp, slut, jealousy and phrases like “been around.”

According to one participant, sometimes a word can be derogatory depending on the context, such as p—y.

Gardea explained that while most words used to describe a woman’s sexuality, such as “whore” or “slut,” are negative, words used to describe a man’s sexuality are often positive in society, such as “player.” She added that phrases such as “man-slut” or “man-whore,” the male equivalency, are still seen as positive characteristics in society.

Gardea and Ambrose also emphasized normalizing sexuality.

“Don’t make it awkward,” Gardea said. “Talk about foreplay and outercourse. Don’t let society dictate your sex. Think about what’s important to you.”

The WGAC event was part of the Kathryn T. Bohannon Speaker Series. The series also included a viewing of the film Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood and American Culture the week of Nov. 10.

Collegian Interactive News Team Member Katie Schmidt can be reached at socialmedia@collegian.com or on Twitter @KatieDSchmidt.

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