Sexual education has been a taboo topic of discussion, however on Friday St. Cloud State University’s Social Responsibility Student Organization hosted ‘Let’s Talk About Sex,’ a panel discussion about various topics pertaining to sex.
“People like to have sex, it’s fun and it’s wonderful and it’s a great way to express yourself in a relationship,” said Lee Ladue, the director of the Gender Violence Prevention Program through the Women’s Center at St. Cloud State University.
“It’s also really important to talk about ‘what is healthy sexuality and what’s not’ and also understanding sexual assault because it is far too common.”
Talking about sex can be difficult, however the Social Responsibility student organization has sought out to break those barriers by starting the conversation among students.
One of the topics covered at the discussion was contraception. Many different means of having safe sex were provided during this conversation, including the use of female condoms, different means of birth control and the importance of getting tested.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to recognize that there are assumptions being made, when there are opinions and when there are facts,” said Ben Bourgoin, a co-leader for the Social Responsibility Student Organization at St. Cloud State University.
“We’ve got plenty of resources on campus like the Women’s Center, LGBTQ Resource Center, we’ve got Planned Parenthood in town, the pregnancy resource center as well as online resource too.”
Another big topic that was discussed at the event was the topic of consent. Understanding consent has been proven to be less knowledgeable among students in college, considering one in four woman are sexually assaulted within their years on a college campus, according to Ladue.
Only an estimated 5 percent of all sexual assault cases are reported to officials, meaning that sexual assaults on college campuses are much more prevalent then what most may conclude, according to Ladue.
“Rape and consent and sexual assault are completely misunderstood,” said Bourgoin. “There’s both the legal and the moral aspects that aren’t understood, sexual assault is defined when there is sexual activity and there is either a lack of consent or there is a clear no.”
“Silence isn’t a yes, silence is most often a no actually.”
Consent is a topic that most find hard to talk about due to the nature of the subject, however it is a conversation necessary to have in order to prevent such acts from continuing on college campuses.
“That’s a big problem in our age group as college students with unhealthy relationships, but also we have these people that haven’t had sex education for say, four or five years and when they did have it, it wasn’t the best.”
Sex education is a topic that many have put forth effort towards in terms of making programs more available and less taboo to attend. Education about sex is critical in order to begin combating issues regarding sex such as unplanned pregnancies, transmitting STDs, as well as understanding what sexual assault really means.
“They didn’t go through all the methods of contraception that are available, and frankly some of the ones like the female condom are cheap, much more effective and generally more convenient then a lot of the pill methods for example,” said Bourgoin.
Ladue said that our community is “weird” in the sense that in our society, sex is everywhere from billboards to television, and everywhere in between, however we can not seem to sit down and actually talk about sex.
“I think we can look to some countries that do a much better job of sex education,” said Ladue. “You look at countries like Sweden or Norway, for example, they start doing sex education when kids start school and it’s just a normal part of their growing up and they talk about healthy relationships and healthy sexuality, that’s what I would love to see.”
“It needs to happen long before kids get to college, but because I think we have such a stigma about talking about it, then people are scared to have these conversations and it gets in the way of relationships, it gets in the way of having a healthy sexual relationship or just healthy sex in general.”
Ladue said that the more programs that are offered in communities and college campuses will help many deter a majority of the ongoing problems that are linked to sex.
“We really need to start there.”