Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) events went well! The Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) SEXPERTS and their DeCal students at UC Berkeley saturated the campus with safer sex supplies distributing approximately 5000 traditional and insertive condoms to fellow bears during SHAW main event and through random acts of sexiness all week. However, the highlight of the week had to be the various sex educator panels including peer educators, campus and local community educators, and professional Sexologists and educators.
SHAW began with an awesome and intriguing panel of sexual health peer educators. Many of the students on the panel are in SHEP with one FemSex facilitator. Though the panel was for the students, and at the end of a long day, I was overwhelmed with pride in a job well done as many of the students in SHEP expressed that being in the program has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences they’ve had at UC Berkeley. Many of the panelists shared that in their quest to educate others on sexual health and related topics they learned a lot about themselves as well. The only male student on the panel cheerfully admitted that being accepted into SHEP was more exciting than receiving his acceptance to UC Berkeley. All of this was music to my ears as the Program Coordinator and Sexual Health Educator because I know that each of these young people will continue to educate friends, classmates and many more helping to slowly but surely effect change to create a more sex positive campus climate and culture, here and beyond.
The following evening, we held a sex and disability panel featuring the group Are Cripples Screwed? consisted of UC Berkeley students, alum, and community members lead by SEXPERT Olivia. This self-contained panel is always both educational and entertaining. There are often many negative stereotypes of disabled persons and sex, as if disabled people don’t have sexual feelings, desires, and experiences. One of the best things about this panel is that the panelists openly and honestly discuss sex and disability in such a way that definitely clarifies that yes, disabled person’s can and do have sexual feelings and desires. Furthermore, disabled persons often figure out a way to experience sexual pleasure as well.
On Wednesday evening we held a panel of professional sexual health educators and Sexologists for aspiring sex educators. Like the peer based sex educator panel, clear themes quickly emerged. The first was many of us identified as that “weird” child/young adult who was naturally intrigued with sex and advancing the discourse in an inclusive and accurate way. A second shared theme was having an entrepreneurial spirit as the field of comprehensive sex education is somewhat new. Given that sex, sexuality, and sexual health encompass many areas of our lives and health, it makes perfect sense to study and approach sex from a multi or interdisciplinary perspective. However, the interdisciplinary approach is new for many employers and they are just barely beginning to see and understand its benefits. Because of this sometimes we, as sex educators, have to help potential employers see our worth and you may have to be creative with this. To this end, one of the best pieces of advice was in response to a student question about interest in other areas and not knowing what to do or where to start with a career in sexual health education. I’m not sure who, but I think it was Carol who shared there is no reason to give up your other interests as it is entirely possible to combine them and be the best sexual health person in that particular area. In other words find the thing you are most passionate about – your niche, if you will – and be the sex expert in it. For example, if you have an interest in both chemistry and sex, major in chemistry minor in sex or vice versa, then carve a niche for yourself as a the leading authority in the chemistry of sex.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this recount of SHAW panels. A super duper huge thank you to the Student Sexual Health Educator panelists: Olivia, Jessica, Angela, Daysha, Jasmine, and Mike; Are Cripples Screwed? panelists; as well as professional Sexual Health Educators: Nicole from Huckleberry in Marin County, Alicia Harris from UC Berkeley, University Health Services, and Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen – one of the most well-known professionals in the field of sex education here in the Bay Area. While SHAW was fantastic, sexual health and education is such an important aspect of health that it certainly deserves daily awareness and regular maintenance. As such, I’ll be writing about it all month! Until next time…
Keep it safe and sexy,
Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess
Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.