Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Safe Sex at Portland’s first Sexpo

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Posted on March 09, 2015 in News
By Zachary Searles

Sam Hill | The Free Press

To drop some must-have sexual knowledge on USM students, social work graduate students Christina Cook and Sarah Milnor organized the first ever ‘Sexpo’ in the Woodbury campus center last week.

“We just wanted to throw a sex positive event and maybe start some conversations,” said Milnor.

Some of the activities students could engage in was a taste test of flavored lube and edible body butter. Several tables provided students with information about engaging in safe sex and awareness pamphlets about sexual assault, rape and stalking.

One hosted table was set-up to show students all the latest sex-related apps available on digital marketplaces. The first app, called “Sex Positive” allows you pick body parts and then a drop down menu will tell you the sexual risks associated with that body part and how to prevent against these risks. The second app, “Circle of Six,” has you to enter six of your friend’s contact information and if you are ever in an emergency situation you can just tap one of the icons and messages will be sent out to your friends, alerting them that you need help.

“All of those options are really helpful,” said Ben Marine, who was manning the table. “If you are in an emergency situation, you can just tap one of the icons instead of fiddling around with your phone, which you might not be able to do.”

Cook commented that one reason for hosting an event like this was to start conversations around positive sexuality, because some students may be uncomfortable with the event’s subject matter.

“By doing an event like this we are trying to reduce discomfort around talking about these issues,” Cook said. “When many people are participating, it helps reduce that discomfort.”

“I think part of the definition of sex positivity is being okay with what your definition of sex is,” said Milnor. “So if you’re slightly uncomfortable with some of this stuff, that’s totally fine. That’s part of the whole event, just letting people have their voice.”

According to Center for Disease Control, one in four college students will contract an STD and 80% of those cases the person won’t even exhibit symptoms. The students volunteering at the tables, passed out condoms to passersbys while reiterating the importance of practicing safe sex.

“Students are going to have sex,” said Rachel Cormier, a student at USM. “I am so much more relieved that they have information and materials that are going to help them be safer and healthier in their own bodies.”

“I would like to hope that these types of programs really encourage students at the university to have safe sex and to be healthy with themselves and their partners,” said Cormier. She also expressed that she would be in favor of more events like this in the future.

At the end of the day, Cook and Milnor felt that the event had been a success, reaching out to an estimated 100 students that passed through. As Milnor looked around, she said it appeared that students were having fun and enjoying themselves.

While they are no confirmed plans for another event such as this in the future, both Cook and Milnor expressed interest in hosting more events such as this one.

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