Talking about sex is always seen as awkward, and for women it is pushed aside as something they don’t enjoy, but for the fourth annual Sex Positivity Expo, hosted by North Dakota State’s Women’s Activist Organization (WAO) April 5, it allowed everyone to express their products and positivity toward the subject.
Multiple intimacy stores represented their products, which included lube, vibrators, BDSM, lotion and the list goes on.
Enchantasys, an intimate boutique here in the Fargo-Moorhead area, tried to teach attendees about product safety. They explained that some sex toys can be cancerous and some are just bad to use. Most of their table was focused on educating people about BDSM, dirty talk, lube, toys, etc.
Romantix, an adult store in Fargo, handed out free vibrator rings, lube and condoms and allowed students to feel the difference between three vibrators and how each work. They also displayed many dildo choices, one of which the man representing Romantix laughed is a “porn star” dildo. They also included their bondage options of behind the back sets.
Pure Romance, which operates only online, was also at the expo. They allow women to host parties where they come with trivia and free items to try out and keep from the store. “In addition to having fun and hanging out with your girlfriends, it’s a sexual health conversation,” Rachel Sanden, an advanced consultant, said.
Among the booths were many student organizations that participated in promoting women’s health and sexual positivity.
NDSU student organization, Collegians for Life, gave information on pregnancy and the resources women have about doctors, health insurance, OBGYNs, housing at NDSU, etc.
Violence Prevention Educators, which works to educate students on the prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence, was also present. At their booth, they were allowing those attending to write notes to survivors, many of which used words such as “worth” and “strength.”
Healthy Herd Champions promoted getting tested in the month of April as well as their upcoming event “Sex in the Dark,” where students can ask anonymous sex questions to “sexperts.”
College Democrats supported their beliefs in positivity and advertised their support for Planned Parenthood. When talking about the expo, William Fleck, president of the organization, said, “It represents what I think the College Democrats stand for which is think positivity.”
Another student organization, Pride Alliance showed their support of the LGBTQ+ community and how through this expo people are able to find other accepting people, leading to a better and more understanding friend group.
The Body Project participated in promoting positivity by supporting positive body image in women and their workshops which helps to do so.
The NDSU Counseling Center showed their support and how they can help anyone struggling. Alex, a staff member at the center, explained the importance of having the expo annually, “Your sexuality is an important part of who you are.”
Among these were student projects that encompassed more positivity toward women and/or the LGBTQ+ community.
Legendary Ladies is a student fundraiser and is trying to gain enough money to donate books that are about historical women to local schools.
“A lot of history is very male-focused. You never care about women other than Rosa Parks and stuff like that. It’s just to raise awareness to other women that have done great things,” they explained.
A student activism project run by three students for women and gender studies focuses on transgender issues and informing people and organizations. One of the students, Alex explained that transgender issues do not feel accepted at NDSU since it is a red state.
Dena Wyum, an NDSU professor, represented the non-profit organization Days for Girls. Days for Girls is a non-profit organization that sews reusable cloth pads so girls around the world have resources that they may not be able to afford or find otherwise.
The other booths consisted of organizations around the F-M area that support women and others in their decisions.
Red River Women’s Clinic was there promoting their volunteer program of becoming an escort, which is someone who walks women into the clinic so they have someone of support while protestors stand outside the doors.
Plants for Patients advertised their organization and how they make notes of compassion and potted plants for any woman who has received treatment from the Red River Women’s Clinic.
Zoey Citrowske Lee, a student at NDSU, started volunteering at the clinic her sophomore year because she wanted to continue to help the community of Fargo.
An organization, which keeps its name a secret for safety reasons, works to take in pets whose owners are in a domestic violence situation. They are working to contact doggy daycares to receive free boarding because a lot of people will not get away from their situation because they do not want to leave their pets behind.
Leah, a worker for the organization, explained how the people in the abusive relationship cannot take their pets to shelters in fear the abuser will find the pet and harm it or adopters will become upset not knowing why a pet isn’t available for adoption.
A polyamory group discussed their views on having multiple loving partners at once. “It’s something that many people still can’t be open about,” Ian, a member of the group, explained.
Now, why is it important to have sexual positivity shown and expressed?
Jaden Braunagel, sophomore, explained how having the resources of learning about sex is important.
“I think it’s really important to see all the women that are showing up and that are really psyched up about all the sex products and just different groups in general,” Emily Cox, freshman and member of WAO, said. “It’s also important because there’s such a stigma around sex in general especially in young adults, so it’s kind of just recognizing that this is a usual thing.”
Another WAO member and freshman, Kendra Bromsen explained, “To have that positivity around sex — everybody does it, if you say you don’t do it it’s a lie — it’s just important to have positivity around it (sex).”
There were many prizes to win, trivia to answer and raffles to enter throughout the booths. Among those, WAO did a raffle for “F*cked” by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two bottles of lube and two tickets to Pride Fest, Cross Stitch, International sanctuary jewelry and a $20 Pure Romance gift card.
The Sex Positivity Expo brought many students together to learn about different organizations, communities, stores and overall allowed them to embrace and express their sexuality.