Sex toy talk breaking taboos
Marisa Calegari (left), Mathew Bugaert (center), Claire Larkin (right), and Brianne Grossenburg (bottom center) show off sex toys that were discussed at the Women’s Resource Center during Tuesday’s censored series. Students who attended were shown a wide variety of toys and educated on how to safely use them.
The traditional taboos regarding the topic of sex toys weren’t an issue at the Women’s Resource Center on Tuesday night.
As part of the Censored Series, which was established by Feminists Organized to Resist, Create, and Empower, everything from dildos to mini vibrators were discussed at an open question and answer session with UA students, FORCE interns and community experts.
Censored Series: Sex Toys was one of three events in the series this semester.
Caroline Gray, student director of FORCE, said the idea for the event was to create a safe place where students could discuss sex.
“This is our way to extend an educational outreach to the community and the campus,” Gray said. “To have a place where people can come and speak openly about things like this that aren’t necessarily discussed in the mainstream media.”
Gray said that the Censored Series was started last semester to help the UA provide a place for people to ask questions and receive reliable answers.
“We want to make it so that everybody feels welcome here,” Gray said. “That’s what we [WRC] are really about, creating a safe space where anybody and everybody is welcome to talk about things our society has deemed taboo.”
Trish Dezor, BDSM master and sex educator, said the series is a good way for students to learn about certain aspects of sex culture in a safe way.
“A lot of college students are leaving home for the first time and they are looking at all kinds of things and exploring, and I think that is great,” Dezor said. “However, I wouldn’t want real harm to come to them as a result of that.”
Ally Booker, owner of the online sex toy store Jellywink, said the event was an important opportunity for students to learn not just about sex toys, but about sexuality in general.
“People are full of questions, not only about sex toys but about everything around them, like sexuality,” Booker said. “It’s not just about … ‘What does this toy do?’ I get questions like, ‘My partner doesn’t like this; what should I do?’”
Marisa Calegari, a junior studying gender and women’s studies and psychology and an intern at FORCE, said the event was extremely successful, bringing in over 150 people.
It was advertised as a safe place where students could learn about topics commonly regarded as taboo without being judged. Brianne Grossenburg, a philosophy sophomore and FORCE intern, said the event successfully mixed knowledge and fun.
“I liked that it was so entertaining and it was really healthy, too,” Grossenburg said. “I liked that we were able to get students to talk about things like sex positivity.”
Dezor said she hopes the event encourages people to be more open about taboo topics.
“BDSM is becoming more mainstream, and I hope that it loses some of its negative stigmatizing that it has had over the years,” Dezor said.
Events of this nature typically bring in around 30 students, said Mathew Bogaert, a gender and women’s studies senior, and the crowd of 150 well exceeded expectations.
Booker said it’s critical for college students to learn about sex toys and experimenting, because they will soon be shaping sex culture.
“It is important for you guys to be exposed to this stuff and learn about it,” Booker said. “You are going to be creating the environment that we live in.”