Have Questions about Sex? Head to the School of Law Auditorium Tonight
At the Annual Sex in the Dark event, get answers to your anonymous queries from a panel of experts
A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month confirms what many in the sexual health field feared: sexually transmitted disease infections (STDIs) are rising sharply across the country.
According to the report, the number of cases of STDIs rose by more than 100,000 last year, to a record-high 2.4 million infections. A variety of factors contributed to the upsurge, including a decline in safe sex practices among young people as well as cuts to state and local sexual health programs, increasing the likelihood that individuals don’t have access to the information they need to make informed and healthy decisions about sex and relationships.
At BU, Student Health Services (SHS) has seen an increase both in the number of STDI’s and the number of students requesting testing. In an effort to ensure that students have medically accurate information, SHS Wellness & Prevention is hosting its annual Sex in the Dark event tonight, Monday, October 21, at 7 pm, at the School of Law Auditorium. Students are invited to come at 6 pm and anonymously write out their questions about sex—including consent and communication, sexual identity, contraception, STDs and more—to be submitted to the evening’s panel of experts. The panelists will answer as many questions as possible during the 90-minute event.
The goal of the evening, held in the dark to create a safe place to talk about safe sex, is to “foster a sex-positive campus culture,” says Katharine Mooney (SPH’12), Wellness & Prevention director.
Sex in the Dark is so important because it prioritizes and empowers safe, informed sexual and reproductive choices.
A Resource Fair for students will begin at 6 pm and will include various tables with glow-in-the-dark giveaways, raffle info, and information about on- and off-campus organizations: the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP), the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism (CGSA), Fenway Health, Global Protection Corp, Athena’s Home Novelties, Pleasure Pie, Good Vibrations, Planned Parenthood, and SHS’ Student Health Ambassadors. The SHS ambassadors will hand out information about sexual health resources and services.
The experts on this year’s panel are Ashley Slay, SARP prevention program administrator; Leah Berkenwald, Brandeis University wellness promotion program manager; Stephanie Campbell, director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development; Savy Berman, sexual pleasure educator at Good Vibrations, a local retailer providing high-quality products and sex education; and Hannah Nichols, an SHS primary care nurse practitioner. Avery Ofoje (CAS’20), the SHS lead student health ambassador, will moderate the discussion, along with a SARP student ambassador.
“Sex in the Dark is so important because it prioritizes and empowers safe, informed sexual and reproductive choices,” Ofoje says. “It gives students a platform to engage openly with their experiences around sex and sexuality as college students.”
And the event isn’t all serious business, as the raffle and giveaways, like bracelets, necklaces, and large foam glow sticks, can attest. These glow-in-the-dark items will provide some illumination in the auditorium—and some fun.
The annual event has demonstrated success, according to program evaluations following the previous years’ Sex in the Dark: 87 percent of attendees said they felt more informed about their sexual health after the event, 85 percent said they are better prepared to discuss sexual issues with a partner, and 82 percent said they are more comfortable accessing the University’s sexual health resources.
“Having the autonomy and access to make informed decisions about sex, sexuality, and reproduction are rights that every BU student deserves,” Ofoje says.
Sex in the Dark: A Glow-in-the-Dark Sexpert Panel
Doors open at 6 pm and students can visit various tables to learn about sexual health resources on and off campus and get glow-in-the-dark giveaways like bracelets, necklaces, and foam glow sticks. The event is free and open to BU students, faculty, and staff.
School of Law Auditorium, 765 Commonwealth Ave.