This February, get ready to be frisky.
Several colleges have designated specific weeks or months to events promoting sexual health, and Wellness and Prevention Services interns Jamie Klufts (SPH’15) and Michelle Goode (SPH’15) wanted to replicate that at BU, initially anticipating a week of events. But they had so many ideas for potential events that after consulting with Wellness and Prevention Services director Katharine Mooney (SPH’12), they decided to expand it throughout the month.
The programming includes lectures, game nights, cooking classes, a cappella performances, and workshops, all aimed at promoting sexual health. “Our primary goal with Frisky February is to make information and conversations about sexual health and relationships an integrated part of the BU experience,” Mooney says. “By collaborating with other student groups and departments across campus, we are beginning to make that sex-positive culture a reality.”
The month kicked off last night with a Sexploration Workshop, a sex toy party hosted by certified sexuality educator Goddess Cecilia, who provided information about sex, pleasure, and exploration. Among upcoming events are K.I.S.S (Keeping It Sexy and Safe) Bingo, a test of students’ sexual health knowledge, with prizes given out; an evening with YouTube personality and MTV star Laci Green giving a Best Sex Ever! talk; a lecture about the science behind love and relationships, with sex educator and author Emily Nagoski, Smith College director of wellness education; a queer sex workshop hosted by the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism; and tonight, an Aphrodisiac Cooking Class.
Taught by Karen Jacobs (SAR’79), a Sargent College clinical occupational therapy professor, the class is part of her weekly Sargent Choice Test Kitchen. Besides making fudgy brownies, Klufts says, students will learn facts about chocolate and other sensual foods. “When we were brainstorming, we were trying to think about how we could incorporate campus groups and organizations that you wouldn’t assume to be sexual health–related,” she says. “We’re going to talk about sexual health and aphrodisiac cooking at the same time. We’re finding creative ways to partner with different people on campus and reach a new target population. People don’t realize the interconnectedness of public health, which impacts every area of life, and we really tried to emphasize that.”
One event guaranteed to draw interest is Hogwarts Sex Ed, a sexual education course that explores sex as depicted in the Harry Potter books, using lingo from the series to discuss serious issues like consent and safe sex. Sex is barely mentioned in the books, self-described Harry Potter nerds Klufts and Goode say, which gave them the idea. “They are seriously lacking in sex education,” Goode says of the J. K. Rowling series. “There’s no way in reality that there would be so many students from 11 to 17 who are not engaging in sexual intercourse or activities. It will be really fun to bring that different world into our world, make some funny references, and give some much-needed education as well.”
One of the primary goals of Frisky February is to change the way students think about sex, and thus make discussing sex more comfortable. Student ambassadors from the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center (SARP) will host a design-your-own-pizza party and discussion centering on the issue of consent. The concept behind Sex as Pizza—that ordering a pizza is a good metaphor for sex—is based on a TEDx talk by sexuality educator Al Vernacchio, who says that sex, like pizza, is all about discussion, compromise, and satisfaction. Since consent is one of the most important sexual health issues facing students, says Sarah Voorhees, a SARP health and prevention educator, the event is designed to address the issue accessibly and creatively. “Consent can sometimes be an uncomfortable topic to talk about, but if we’re having honest conversations about sex, it’s just a natural and normal part of the mix,” Voorhees says. “Consent is about communication. It’s a process of mutual and freely given agreements. At SARP, what we like to talk about is active consent, which is really just making sure that everyone in a situation is enthusiastic and excited to be doing what they’re doing.”
More than anything, Klufts and Goode say, the aim of Frisky February is to provide reliable information about sexual health. “There are about 30,000 students at BU, and they’re all coming in with different sex education backgrounds,” Goode says. “It’s an important time in someone’s life to make sure that they’re given this information so they can not only protect themselves, but learn how to get pleasure out of sex and have a positive sex life. We want students to come to these events and find reputable sources on sex, so they’re not googling and reading “Yahoo Answers” for their daily sex education. Hopefully, by bringing different speakers and giving students resources at our events, they’ll be able to continue that experience of education and not misinformation.”
Frisky February runs throughout the month. The Sargent Choice Test Kitchen Aphrodisiac Cooking Class is tonight, Wednesday, February 4, in StuVi 2 Room 2301, 33 Harry Agganis Way. Find a full list of events, times, dates, and locations here.
Samantha Pickette can be reached at email@example.com.