Sexual Education In the Dark

A panel of “sexperts” converged Thursday night on Century Theater to talk sex, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual lubricant, relationships, readiness, the sexuality spectrum, contraception, forgiveness and the benefits to sex.

Sex in the Dark, an event put on by Healthy Herd Champions, illuminated some of students’ most intimate questions regarding sex.

The panel included Debra Nelson, a nurse practitioner with Student Health Services, Quinn Garrick, vice president of Pride Alliance, Katie Christensen, an education outreach manager for Planned Parenthood, Christen Benson, a human development and family sciences professor who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and Sarah Weninger, a representative of North Dakota Department of Health.

The event was marketed as a fun and learning environment for students to ask questions anonymously in a dark room, so any trace of identity was protected and intended to make a conversation about sex easier.

Functioning from an interactive electronic method where messages sent in via phone, questions posed were read aloud and answered by the panel.

Some of the questions included ones of how often people should be tested for STDs, and if people should still be tested if they are in a committed relationship, among others.

Panelists agreed the SHS clinic should be a first choice for any NDSU students as a testing location as they only charge for lab tests, not visits. In North Dakota, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, tests must be freely provided by law when requested, and the chlamydia and gonorrhea test is $10.  For non-students, panelists suggested the Fargo it was recommended they visit the Fargo Cass Public Health clinic.

Panelists suggested those not sure if they are ready for sex should talk with people they know and trust about potential outcomes and if the partner they’re considering having sex with would listen to their anxieties and what they like in bed. They also stated that sexual readiness varies, so people should listen to their body and consider the quality of the relationship they have with the other person.

An audience member asked what the benefits of sex are, with Benson saying “it feels good.” Garrick said sex is mentally and physically beneficial.

Nelson said men mature sexually at about age 18 and women do at 35. She said the solution to the potential problem of having an orgasm for young women was to know what works for your body and to get comfortable with your body sexually. She added masturbation can help figure this out.

Benson said people can increase self-confidence in sex by finding something they feel comfortable in, like a lacy top or a material which is flattering. Having a partner they feel comfortable with may make being intimate less of an issue, Benson added.

Every panelist also reminded the audience to not forget lubricant when performing sexual activities.

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