Frisky February helps end sex stigmas for students

Jessica GuerrucciReporter

This February at Southern is not an ordinary one. It is “Frisky February,” which means glow sticks, a dimmed room, and conversations about safer sex.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Wellness Center and Health Services held an event for Frisky February called Sex in the Dark, where they invited students to ask anonymous questions to educate them about what it means to have safe sex.

Christa Mann, is a nurse practitioner at health services, said “The program is really fun because you can ask any question in the whole world.”

Students had plenty of questions, not just pertaining to sex, but their overall health, sexual norms, and sex education. Mahasa Jenkins, and economics major, said the program was informative and he isn’t afraid to talk about sex.

“Me personally, I’m very comfortable talking about sex, but a lot of my friends are not really comfortable talking about it,” said Jenkins. “I really want to break the stigma about sex and I want people to feel more comfortable talking about it.”

Some students who are afraid to talk about sex or what is going on with their bodies often look for another source to help them out, and for Tahjanay Mcnight, an early childhood education major, she said she will go right to Google.

“I feel like you should actually go and talk to somebody that specializes in that subject or area, because they actually know what they are talking about,” said Mcnight. “Google tries to scare you and make the situation bigger than what it is. It’s a bad way to try and understand what is wrong with you.”

Mann agreed during the discussion and said how “Googling,” or searching symptoms online, can be very anxiety producing because it often shows you the worst-case scenario. She said through events like Sex in the Dark, she hopes to help better educate students.

“I would think any student who comes in with questions and we’re able to answer them to the best that we can, kind of increases the knowledge base and they’re able to talk to their friends and have some accuracy,” said Mann.

Ashley Munoz, a nursing major, who works in the health center, said she thinks it would be good to educate students about safe sex in their classes.

“I also mentioned maybe incorporating this into the INQ and new student sophomore programs. Sexual mental health care would be beneficial to the overall health of the student body,” said Munoz.

Jenkins said he does not feel that students are well educated or knowledgeable about sex, and that there should be more programs, not just in February, but throughout the whole year or at least once a month.

“I feel like a lot of people just don’t get that kind of education and people are just learning as they go along and from experiences, but from an educational point of view, no one teaches about sex,” said Jenkins.

Mann said an issue with the sex education students get is that most of it is learned during their middle school and high school years. Most of that education focuses on puberty and there isn’t a lot of discussion about the intricacies of sex.

“As a culture and as educators, we have to become better at really reaching our population in a different way,” said Mann. “Teaching them safer sex practices in general, versus just coaching them on absentee.”

Photo Credit: Jessica Guerrucci

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