Friday, October 5, 2012

Students talk sex fetishes

By Ashley Gill, Guest Writer

All they could talk about was sex.

Fetishes were the main topic of the first Sex+ (Sex Positive) series event of the year on Monday. Room 133 of the Anderson University center (AUC) ran out of chairs with more than 100 students, some only able to stand on the side lines or sit on the floor, listening to the topic of fetishes.

Koe Sozuteki, professional educator at the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle, answers student questions at the end of the first Sex+ event, on fetishes, Oct. 1. The next Sex+ event will be Oct. 29 in Anderson University Center room 133 on the topic of bisexuality. Photo by Erica Moen.
Four panel members from the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle shared their experiences with fetishes, answered questions and discussed the center.
Members include Jim Duvall, member of the board for foundation of Sex Positive Culture, Koe Sozuteki, professional educator for the center, Allena Gabosch, executive director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture, and Kayla Glenn, a volunteer at the Center for Sex Positive Culture.
The panel was asked multiple questions, including what the potential dangers of indulging in fetishes could be.
There can be health hazards with blood fetishes or physical dangers when using materials such as rope.  
Common types of fetishes, which involve leather, power exchange, bondage, role play and even body parts, were the types of sexual preferences discussed.
The speakers also educated the audience about sexuality and fetishes as a whole, explaining its naturalness, and that exploring those aspects of sex can be beneficial.
Gabosch has been talking to students about BDSM (bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism), multiple relationships and kink since 1994.
“I am passionate about what I do. I think what we do makes a difference in people’s lives,” Gabosch said. “I didn’t get that kind of education. I had to learn it on my own. This way we’re giving people an opportunity to get an idea of the things that make them tick at an early age. We, at the center, give people the permission to be the sexual beings that they already are.”
The panel explained that fetishes are not just defined by what people are attracted to. Fetishes can be for material things or situations, as well as people’s characteristics.
Aspects such as body hair and even construction equipment, like bulldozers, can be fetishes.
“You could be attracted to anything, anything can get you going. It’s kind of open ended and you shouldn’t be afraid of that,” first-year Jacob Glickman said.
The Sex+ series holds 5-6 programs throughout the year brought to campus by the Women’s Center, Diversity Center, and Lute Fit. Events like these allow students to have conversations about sexuality, sexual diversity and pleasure. The next Sex+ series event, on bisexuality, will be on Oct. 29 in AUC 133.
“Learn, unlearn, and relearn” is a phrase the series likes to use to educate students about sex. Sex+ was first brought up by Angie Hambrick, director of the Diversity Center, and Jennifer Smith, director of the Women’s Center because Pacific Lutheran University educates students about sexual violence, but there was not programming about sexual health or pleasure. Hambrick and Smith first applied the series on campus in fall 2010.
The first topic talked about sex in general and about the series. This topic and many others for the first year had songs attached to the themes, such as “Let’s Talk about Sex” by Salt N Peppa.
Other topics in the past included virginity, pornography, contraception, BDSM, also religion and sexuality.
The Sex+ series has recently been named the NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) region five innovative program of the year, which highlights that the program addresses a demonstrated need on campus, encourages diverse and multiple subgroup participation, is cost effective, and is of overall benefit to students.
Smith said she often feels that students do not feel they have a place to have conversations based around sex without feeling judged or questioned.
Smith said the Sex+ series strives to create a space where student curiosity and questions are welcome. Having a safe and secure place for students to have access to information about sex is also important, Smith said.
Smith said she hopes to see more students attend the events in the future.
“One of the great things about the series is that it pulls from a wide range of students across race, gender and sex,” Smith said. “It’s rare to see events that have such a broad cross section of student pull.”