Speak and Eat turns sex talk into fun and games

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Sex was the topic of discussion in James Hall last Wednesday at this month’s Speak & Eat event. The dinner and subsequent talk was organized by the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution (SJICR). Attendees discussed consent, safe sex and even got to play a game of sex-themed Jeopardy.

The event, guest-hosted by Allie Pearce, Rowan’s assistant director for Healthy Campus Initiatives, managed to take sex, a topic which is usually full of warnings and trepidation, and turn it into a discussion that was light-hearted and genuine.

Pearce began the evening with a short video about sexual consent before opening the discussion to the 30 students in attendance.

“Consent doesn’t have to be this thing where it’s like everybody stops, everybody puts their clothes on, they sign on the dotted line,” said Pearce. “It can also be non-verbal, or innuendo.”

Students eagerly participated in the discussions which included the topics of consent, safe-sex and what makes a relationship healthy. Students were also asked to explain the first time they spoke about sex, leading to a few anecdotes of awkward ‘birds and bees’ talks.

The light-hearted format – which included sex-themed Jeopardy and phallic-shaped pretzels – was key to getting students to open up and speak honestly about their sex lives.

“A lot of times when we talk about sex we talk about all of the bad stuff we don’t want to have happen,” Pearce said. “We talk about unplanned pregnancy, we talk about sexual violence, we talk about STDs. And there’s like this whole other good awesomeness that’s happening before we get to that part.”

According to attendees, there was a lot for everyone to learn at this month’s Speak & Eat. Those who played the game of sex themed Jeopardy say it was especially informative, featuring categories such as Sex Positions and STDs, opening further discussion about the proper use of lubricants and creative life-hacks for dental-dams – small, square pieces of latex which can protect against STD transmission during oral sex, similar to condoms.

“[The Speak & Eat] was actually informative. There are lots of events on campus that might have a big turnout but there’s no actual content, so I’m really happy when they actually have things I can learn from and use in real life,” said Caylor-Ann Rose-Green, a junior biology major.

“I really like learning how to make a dental dam, because it’s not something I would ever think to actually do. It was something original. It’s almost like a craft project, like ‘Oh you can do it at home’,” said Andrew Gerber, a senior psychology major.

The Speak & Eats are held monthly during the school year and focus on a wide range of subjects, from safe sex, to police brutality, to cultural appropriation. The events are planned by student coordinators within the SJICR Office.

“We always pick topics that we can discuss and that people usually have a vague knowledge of, or anything that can be like considered a hot topic,” said Jannette Garriga, a doctorate student in clinical psychology, who also volunteers as a student coordinator with the SJICR office.

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