21st century sex ed comes to campus

Can we all just take a moment to think back to our high school sex ed class where we all sat flushed with embarrassment as we stared at anatomically accurate drawings of our reproductive systems. Okay, sorry for bringing up a time in your life you’ve worked hard to push into the abyss of your mind, but it is this stigma that Dorian Solot and her romantic partner Marshall Miller are trying fix with their program “Sex Discussed Here!”

Last week Common Ground hosted Solot and Miller on campus to give one of their smart, funny sex ed talks that they have been putting on at schools all over the country for the past 15 years. As I trekked across campus I thought, “What college kid wants to subject themselves to yet another boring scientific rundown of how sex works and the dangers that come with the territory?” But boy was this assumption quickly shattered when to my surprise I walked into a bubbling, decently crowded room of about 30 students with all genders equally represented. The duo’s “songs to have sex to” playlist reverberated off the walls as attendees milled about taking a look at the free pins and stickers that were up for grabs.

I was actually laughing and enjoying the conversation along with the rest of the audience despite the fact that Solot was waving a female condom around as they explained the various forms of protection that included everything from your standard condom to make-shift saran wrap dental dams.

During the hour long information portion of their presentation they shared tips on “how to be a great partner in bed” and Solot claimed that great partners educate themselves on all topics from the uses of lube, the multitude of ways to prevent STIs, and most importantly the three magic words, “Is this okay?”

A safe sexual relationship needs these quick check ins as you progress through a night (or day, whatever floats your boat) of intimacy they said. Miller demonstrated this for us as he walked up to Solot and as he reached to undo her pants, he softly asked “Is this okay?” Laughter broke out around the small room and everyone seemed to relax a little more in their seats upon realizing how easy those seemingly loaded words were able to be slipped out in the heat of the moment.

With about 30 minutes left in their presentation they handed out note cards and invited us to write down any questions we had. Everyone scribbled away and carefully folded their notecards before placing them into a sunshine yellow box. I was surprised by the intimacy that people poured onto these little 3×5 notecards as questions arose about how to handle a partner that may be cheating or how to ask if your girlfriend wants to have anal sex. People shared their personal insecurities about never having had an orgasm and another expressed their fear about telling their partner they are a virgin. The mood was a more somber during this time as the audience listened to the insights Solot and Miller had.

No one appeared uncomfortable throughout the talk and I was amazed by the confidence and ease with which many audience members voiced their thoughts on everything from where the best sex shop is to tips on how to feel comfortable hooking up with someone for the first time.